FAMILY safeguarding has seen a 'sterling' progress with a quarter of child protection cases reduced, the council has said.

Bracknell Forest Borough Council's family safeguarding team has been praised by the government minister for children and families for its success in supporting local families.

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The family safeguarding model launched in November 2017 and it's aim is to support vulnerable children and families.

Cllr Gareth Barnard, executive member for children, young people and learning, said: “The wellbeing of local children and families is always our first priority and it’s fantastic to hear the changes we’ve made by working together as a team are having such a positive impact.

By reducing the number of families needing more serious interventions, our staff are able to dedicate more time to those most in need and inspire other families to make positive changes for themselves.

“Not only is this way of working making a difference to our team, it is also supporting partners in health and the police. Demand for services such as substance misuse and mental health services have also reduced since we started working more closely with these professionals under the family safeguarding model.”

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Since the programmes launch, the council has seen a 25 per cent reduction in child protection cases which means more children are able to remain safely at home with a reduced level of intervention from the council.

It has also enabled social workers to dedicate more time to supporting families, with a 33 per cent reduction in ‘caseloads’ - the number of families assigned to each social worker, as less families are needing intensive support.

Michelle Donelan, minister for children and families at the Department for Education, said: “The team all do so much to build a better future for some of our most vulnerable children, and with increasing demand for children’s social care services, the family safeguarding model has shown promising evidence of safely reducing the number of children coming into care and enabling more children to stay at home, thriving in family environments.”

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The family safeguarding model brings together professionals in adult and children's social care, mental health, alcohol and substance misuse, domestic violence and giving families access and support to overcome their challenges.

Michelle Donelan MP, Minister for Children and Families, and Isabelle Trowler, Chief Social Worker for Children and Families has recognised the council's success in supporting local families using the family safeguarding model.

Isabelle Trowler said: “Bracknell Forest has made sterling progress in developing family safeguarding: focusing on the whole family, working together across agencies, with families and their strengths – fantastic.”