What is a Team Around the Family?
A Team Around the Family (TAF)/review meeting should take place when an FFA identifies actions for support. The formation of a TAF brings together practitioners from across different services to support an individual child or young person and their family. The members of the TAF develop and deliver a package of solution-focused support to meet the needs identified through the FFA. It is important that the child or young person and parents/carers, as appropriate, are also included as part of the TAF. It provides the opportunity to discuss how additional needs can be met. The main functions are to:
- Bring together children, young people, parents and practitioners
- Provide a small and individualised team for the family
- Ensure parents/carers and children/young people have an equal role in agreeing goals and the actions needed to meet those goals
- Ensure that the needs of parents/carers are recognised and that their central role in meeting the needs of the child/young person is acknowledged
- Avoid duplication of services
The meeting should be as small as practically possible, so that the child/young person and family members do not feel overwhelmed. All of the parents/carers and the child/young person (where appropriate and possible) should always attend the meeting and should be empowered to take an equal role in the process. Check with the family for any barriers to communication and accessibility issues and address ahead of the meeting.
At the TAF meeting you should:
- Share information
- At the first TAF meeting, review the Family Plan recorded in the Family First Assessment to identify what support is currently in place is it effective and what needs to change.
- Ensure services are coordinated and do not overlap
- Review progress
- Identify actions to address needs to be reviewed at subsequent TAF meetings
- Share and discuss any concerns – including safeguarding concerns, risks and protective factors
Each practitioner in the TAF is responsible /accountable to their own line manager for the services they deliver to children, young people and families.
- Members of the TAF are jointly responsible for developing and delivering the family plan to meet the needs of the child or young person and their family, and achieve the intended outcomes identified through the FFA.
- Each member of the TAF is responsible for delivering the support they agreed to carry out as part of the family plan
- Each member of the TAF is responsible for keeping the other members of the team informed about progress in their area of responsibility by updating case notes.
- TAF members should support the Keyworker keeping them informed, by providing information, offering guidance and advice; providing reports promptly when requested and attending meetings.
- All TAF members should contribute to taking minutes and chairing meetings, and take on other tasks as necessary. The chair will ensure that everyone attending the meeting introduces themselves and engage parents (and children where appropriate) in all discussions throughout the meeting, seeking their thoughts on all agreed actions and plans.
- TAF members should contribute actively and positively to solving problems or resolving difficulties. Where appropriate, agree to consult with and/or refer to other services, and invite them to the next TAF meeting.
- TAF members should be open, honest and transparent. Challenge appropriately and ensure concerns, risks and protective factors are discussed effectively.
- Identify gaps in support and seek support from your local Families First Coordinator as appropriate.
- Actions that are not progressing or outcomes not being achieved with in set timescales should be reviewed and identify barriers to change.
- Seek timely advice from Senior Families First Coordinator when lack of engagement from services and/ or family is identified as cause of outcomes not being met.
- Evaluate if case needs to go to Action and Impact meeting or if step up is required. If unsure seek advice and support from your Local Senior Families First Co-ordinator or Families First Co-ordinator.
- If there is evidence of significant harm, follow Hertfordshire Safeguarding Children Board procedures.
- TAF review meeting should be set within 6 weeks of previous meeting.
- Outcomes of meeting should be recorded on Hertfordshire’s EHM system within 2 – 3 working days of the TAF meeting taking place.
Action Plan Update
- Update action plan on EHM, set further actions if required and where necessary consider inviting additional services (with consent from family) to meeting.
- Update EHM system within 2 – 3 working days of TAF meeting
- Copy of TAF meeting Outcome Form and family plan/action plan to be shared with family within 5 working days of TAF meeting.
What makes a good Family Plan?
The Families First Assessment includes a family plan. Figure 1 below explains the four stages of action planning moving from information gathering, to undertaking the assessment, analysis and developing a family action plan. The initial family plan identifies the immediate actions that people present at the assessment will take (including the child or young person and family). Where a multi-agency response is required, a Team Around the Family will be formed and a family delivery plan will be agreed by the TAF members. Figure 1 explains the four stages of action planning.
Figure 1 – Four stages of action planning as part of FFA process
Good action planning builds on strengths to help meet needs. It is insightful, comprehensive and strategic. You therefore need to develop a holistic understanding of the child or young person and family’s needs and strengths, not just in terms of your own service interests. Effective action planning requires a thorough assessment and analysis of the situation based on asking critical questions and actively listening to answers.
Good action planning requires a methodical process that clearly identifies the components and steps needed for improved outcomes. This process should be:
- comprehensive – considering all significant options and impacts
- efficient – not wasting time or resources
- inclusive – the child or young person, their parent/carer and other people affected by the plan must be involved and encouraged to take on actions themselves where appropriate
- informative – decisions are understood by the people involved
- focused – short-term decisions support long-term goals
- logical – each step leads to the next within a broad strategic framework of SMART objectives and solution-focused outcomes
- transparent – everybody involved understands how the process works
Both the initial family plan and action plan, should state clearly what is to be done, by when and by whom. The plan should also include the anticipated outcomes, how these will be measured, and details of how the plan will be monitored, reviewed and evaluated.
Hints and tips:
Whatever the age of the child or young person, it is important to make sure that:
- you are really hearing what the child or
- young person is saying
- you understand and can visualise the child or young person’s view of the world
- you have considered the child or young person’s innermost feelings and wishes.