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Family support process FAQs

Frequently asked questions by professionals, about the Family Support Process (FSP).

It is a simple way to help identify needs of children and families, and make a plan to meet those needs. It has five main elements:

  • Consent
  • Assessment
  • Plan
  • Review
  • Closure

Together they provide a framework for multi-agency working with families that have Tier 2 needs.

The FSP assessment helps useful conversations that identity risk and resilience to take place.  It also helps identify which services may be appropriate for children, young people and families requiring support.

If you have tried to meet the child or young person’s needs from within the full range of universal provision, without progress or success.

You now need to get additional support from other services. You need to decide whether the needs identified can be met by involving one other service, or if multiple services may be required. Discuss your concerns with the family (and young person as appropriate). You need their consent to share information with another agency to get additional support.

  • If you decide the child or young person’s need can be met from one other service and you have consent, you can refer to the service directly
  • If you decide their needs require support from more than one service and you have consent, you will need to start the Family Support Process (FSP) with the family. You should check if an active FSP is already in progress

You need to find out if the family support process has already started:

  • Ask the family which agencies are involved, and if they have had a meeting before
  • The early help family focus teams within your locality can review all current recorded FSP activity.  They will be able to inform you if an FSP already exists, and who the lead professional is.

A FSP must be registered as soon as a family consent.

Register by uploading a copy of the information sharing and consent form, and request for support if appropriate.  By registering, our early help database can be used to monitor active FSPs.  Without this information, the opportunity for practitioners to liaise and avoid duplication is missed.

The family support process is entirely voluntary. Informed consent is mandatory. Families do not have to engage and if they do, they can choose what information they want to share. If a family decline an FSP, it could be that they are not ready to acknowledge issues or address change.

  • Encourage them to think about what their family goals are and what they want for their child or children
  • Offer signposting to online services and helpline information
  • Give them your contact details and advise them that they can ask for a FSP to be initiated at a later date, if they change their mind

Children and families should not feel stigmatised by the FSP. This is an assessment in relation to the child or young person and family’s needs.

A good quality FSP assessment will require information from a number of professionals. As lead professional, you do not need to know all the information required for the assessment yourself. However you are expected to ask the family about other professionals they are working with. You should also identify who may have this information and co-ordinate* all the different contributions into the assessment form.

*Tip: Cut and paste the section a professional is required to complete. Securely send it to them. It can then simply be inserted into the original document when returned.

We store all uploaded FSP assessments, delivery and review plans on the secure early help database if we have evidence of consent from the family members.  If consent is withdrawn at any time, the files are closed.  To get a copy or to see any FSP paperwork, you need to contact the lead professional in the first instance.

If families request information held about them after support has ended, they need to make an information request.

Across the county FSP’s are randomly selected for audit.  This includes those led by partner agencies where there is multi-agency working.  Audits help to identify examples of good practice and areas for development.  The learning from these audits is shared with the partners involved.  It also informs the calendar of practice development sessions, which are open to partners to attend.

  • Week 1  Gain consent and identify support networks (genogram)
  • Week 2  Information gathering (family)
  • Week 3  Information gathering (children)
  • Week 4  Information gathering (professionals)
  • Week 5  Analysis and complete and agree FSP assessment 
  • Week 6  Initial 'Team Around the Family' meeting to create delivery and review plan
  • Weeks 7-11   Family interventions, actions and referrals
  • Week 12  Review progress and close

You can call a Team Around the Family (TAF) meeting if the family have completed the information sharing and consent form.  You can gather information for the assessment and professionals can give their contribution at this meeting.  This can be useful if it has proved problematic and time intensive to get all contributions.

For the family, the meeting helps promote open and honest conversations and ensures there are no surprises.  The meetings are best facilitated using the Signs of Safety mapping tool.  You can gather what’s working well, what worries family and professionals have and what needs to happen.

Yes, if there have already been comprehensive assessments. You can attach them as an appendix. It is important to ensure that relevant information in the appendix, is highlighted or referenced within the FSP assessment.

  • When all the information for the assessment has been gathered
  • The worry statement and safety goals have been agreed
  • You are ready to formulate a delivery and review plan

The FSP assessment should be uploaded at this stage.

You will be lead professional until the first Team Around the Family meeting takes place. The lead professional moving forward with the FSP, is decided at this meeting. It is usually the person who has the best relationship with the family. The family should have a choice in who the lead professional is.

No. They have the responsibility to ensure the meeting is facilitated and recorded, but can negotiate with other TAF professionals for someone else to take on this role.

The lead professional is responsible for calling the initial Team Around the Family meeting together. However responsibility at meetings with chairing and writing up plans and progress, should be shared within the TAF professionals. It is no one person’s role.

The very first review meeting should take place within two weeks of completing the FSP assessment.  This is so the Team Around the Family can create the delivery and review plan with the family . A timescale for subsequent review meetings should be agreed at the end of each meeting.  Every six weeks is suggested as good practice, but this is at the TAF’s discretion.

No. You should use the delivery and review plan template to capture the progress made against the family goals you have agreed. The goals should remain the same and provide a clear focus for the duration of the FSP, unless family circumstances change dramatically.

Where goals are constantly changed, there is ‘case drift’ and a lack of progress or positive change. Therefore at each review meeting, the family goal should be used to create focused conversations. Progress should be tracked towards this goal, by using the scaling question to reveal any barriers. You should help the family identify ways around these barriers. The plan allows you to add actions, specifically who is doing what by when.

Yes. All completed delivery and review plans should uploaded to the website after each meeting.  The early help database allows us to track FSP progress and keep a record of where FSPs are in place.

View details and register.  If you would like to request bespoke training or discuss practice development, contact your process manager in your early help family focus locality team.

In Norfolk, young people must be aged 12 or over, if they have the capacity to consent in their own right to a FSP.  However, since the FSP promotes whole family working, often it is impossible to support change in circumstances or experiences without parent or carers being involved.

Complete the last FSP delivery and review plan. Note the reason for closure against each of the safety goals. If this is because family withdraw consent or disengage then write this. Then upload a copy. Remember if the closure of the FSP has a negative impact on the child, then you should escalate your concerns in line with the Threshold Guidance.

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