New £15m scheme to prevent families being separated

The government has introduced a new £15m scheme, ‘Supporting Families; Investing in Practice,’ which will help families tackle issues such as domestic violence, substance abuse and addiction.

The overriding target is to keep children with their parents and avoid sending them into care, by creating a safe home environment.

The programme will be rolled out in up to 40 new council areas.

It is being modelled on the existing Family Drug and Alcohol Courts, which have been found to have a positive effect on family reunification.

Children and Families Minister Nadhim Zahawi said: “Every child, no matter what hand they have been dealt, deserves the opportunity to grow up in a stable, loving family so they can develop into confident adults equipped to take on life’s challenges successfully.

“For too many children, this is not the reality, and we are seeing rising numbers of children going into care. Often, their parents are struggling with problems of their own and that has an impact on the whole family. Projects like these are making sure vulnerable families get the support they need from experts who can help them address their problems head on and stop them from spiralling out of control.”

The project provides a problem-solving approach to care proceedings, where a team of substance misuse specialists, domestic violence experts, psychiatrists and social workers carry out an early assessment and agree an intervention plan with parents who come before the court in care proceedings.

Once in proceedings, parents begin a “trial for change”, supported by the specialist team and with regular meetings with the judge, who reviews the progress being made as well as adjudicating in the case.

Please contact us if you would like more information about the issues raised in this article, or any aspect of family law.