Think Family …


Think Family – keeping children, adults and their families safe from harm:

The concept of “Think Family” and the need to work across children’s and adults services has been established since the late 1990’s.

At that time Falcov (1998) published a DoH funded training resource, Crossing Bridges, which aimed to develop a whole family approach in situations where children were living in families with a parent experienced mental ill health.

This resource recognised the need for practitioners working with adults to train alongside children’s practitioners in order to implement a coordinated approach based on an understanding of family systems.

The need to “Think Family” continues to be a feature of serious case reviews (now LSCPRs), SARs and DHRs, not only in situations of parental mental ill health but in a variety of complex family and other caring situations.

With ever more specialised and fragmented services, promoting a whole family approach through policy, service specifications and staff development opportunities has become increasingly important.

This training programme builds on the original ideas within Crossing Bridges with a format which includes both individual agency and cross agency sessions and encourages interagency collaboration whilst also improving individual practice.  

Course Aim:

This is a programme designed for designated health professionals and the overall aim is to provide an opportunity to consider how services can best work together across boundaries, with a focus on improving safeguarding practice with adults children and their families.

Overall Learning Outcomes:

By the end of the programme participants will have had the opportunity to:

  • Understand why “Think Family” is a crucial element of effective safeguarding for adults and children.
  • Consider what “Think Family” means in practice within your own organisation.
  • Explore professional and organisational barriers to implementing a think family approach.
  • Consider how to develop cross agency effective working relationships, service pathways and protocols in order to implement a “Think Family” approach.
  • Reflect on the benefits and challenges of “Think Family” in a virtual/blended world.
  • Use an extended case study to explore “Think Family” in practice.

Course Structure:

1.  A three hour session delivered in single agency groups ( i.e. adults or children’s services) to reflect on the “Think Family” model as applied to participants own organisation. The number three-hour sessions to be negotiated locally.

2.  A whole day group session working across children’s and adults’ services. The day will use an extended case study and explore this from the different points of view of adults, children and associated professionals. Participants will be encouraged to work in groups representing both single and multiple perspectives and arrive at solutions that address the needs of the whole family system.

3.  Further three-hour sessions in single agency groups to consider the detail of what changes are needed within their own settings for a Think Family approach to work in practice. 

An optional follow up one day workshop in six months is recommended to reflect on impact of the model on practice.