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Hertfordshire County Council

Timescale for completion of the FFA with Family is within 3 weeks

It is important to remember that the Families First Assessment (FFA) is a snapshot of the family’s situation at that time. Therefore you should attempt to get the assessment completed before you actually start working on any of the actions so that you can get an accurate before, during and after measure of progress. It is therefore important that practitioners initiating an FFA with a family; arrange to complete and finalise the FFA with the family as soon as the family is registered on EHM. This should be completed within 3 weeks from date of completion of family registration on EHM (if you need to seek contribution or information from other agencies as part of the FFA, this should done within this timeline too). A copy of completed and finalised FFA should be signed by the family and a copy should also be given to the family.

If the family is difficult to engage or being evasive etc. Then record what information you can get from the family during this time and you can record the difficulties you have had in trying to gain all information etc., within the Keyworker’s analysis section on the FFA on EHM.

Initial TAF Meeting to be held within 6 weeks from completion of family registration

Reviews of actions should be held every 6 weeks at least. This will prevent families from drifting, small progress being missed, triggers to escalation or deterioration being missed.

It is important the EHM system is updated within 2 – 3 working days of the TAF meeting being held (both the Meeting Outcomes and the Action Plan).  A copy of the meeting Outcome Form and updated family plan should be printed off and given to the parents within 5 working days from the date of the TAF meeting. This will ensure that anyone accessing the EHM system can see what the current actions are, what progress has been recorded at meetings and who is responsible for any outstanding actions.

Sometimes, Children’s Services receive information or concern from either another professional or a member of the public on a family that is being supported through an FFA, as they may not know that the family is being supported through an FFA.  This could also be for example, a Domestic Abuse notification from the Police.  When additional information or a concern is raised, Customer Service Centre will check all systems, including EHM to see if the family has an open FFA (EHM episode). If the family has an open episode, this additional information or concern (if below the threshold for child protection), will be sent to Families First Triage team, where managers will review information and give direction.  It is therefore important that any work being done with the family as part of the episode (open FFA), including communication, key events, changes, and process etc. is recorded in the EHM episode case note. This will enable Families First Triage Team to see what progress is being made through the episode (open FFA) and Family Action Plan.

Use case note within the episode to record any work that you do with the family within the FFA process, including record of meetings with the family, contact with the family, update from practitioners supporting the family or the family itself, significant events, progress of the family, upload documents relating to the case the you receive or any letters that you send out and any request for support from another service etc. This helps you to present a clear record and chronology of your work, and that of TAF members in supporting the family. This way, should the family circumstance change, for example should you need to step up the case due to safeguarding concerns, your clear record keeping on the FFA episode will help managers in Families First Triage and Family Safeguarding Assessment Team to make a quick decision, as they will be able to clear see from your record evidence of what support the family has received through the FFA episode.

If the outcome of a TAF meeting is to take the case to A&I (see guidance and process for submitting a case to A &I) or close the FFA (EHM episode) then this should be actioned within 2 – 3 working days after the meeting.

Subsequent TAF Review Meetings to be held every 6 – 12 weeks

Review meetings should be held every 6 – 12 weeks to ensure effective and continuous monitoring and review of progress the family is making towards achieving expected outcomes as set out in the family plan. It is good practice to set the date of the next review meeting at each TAF meeting.

(see further information under – Effective Team Around the Family (TAF) Meetings)