Supporting Families

In Kent the government’s Supporting Families programme is fully integrated into Early Help and Preventative Services, and families receive intensive support through the work of our Early Help Units.

About Early Help

Early Help means taking action to support a child, young person or their family early in the life of a problem or as soon as it emerges. We provide a service that can be accessed at any time and place that suits you.

Find out more about how Early Help can help your child and your family.

Our work within Early Help is underpinned by a whole family approach. This is a key foundation of:

  • the government’s Supporting Families programme
  • the Family Hub Framework model
  • new DfE attendance guidance
  • our collective response to safeguarding children.

The whole family approach breaks down silos in existing services and recognises the need to support adults and children to build a family’s resilience.

Our approach helps ensure the engagement of children and families and ensures that families, partners and practitioners have a greater awareness of each other’s needs and support requirements.

Supporting Families programme 2022 to 2025

The programme requires an integrated, whole family approach when working with families.

There is no, single template as each family will need a different approach depending on their circumstances. However, the following 4 principles capture what is meant by ‘working with a family as part of Supporting Families’. These principles must apply to all families being supported as part of the Supporting Families programme.

  • There will have been an assessment that takes into account the needs and voice of the whole family.
  • There is an action plan that takes account of all (relevant) family members.
  • There is a lead practitioner for the family that is recognised by the family and other professionals involved with the family.
  • The objectives in the family action plan are aligned to the national Supporting Families Outcomes Framework.

Supporting Families Outcomes Framework

The national Supporting Families Outcomes Framework has 10 main outcomes.

  • Getting a good education
  • Good early years development
  • Improved mental and physical health
  • Better managed substance use
  • Improved family relationships
  • Children safe from abuse and exploitation
  • Families diverted from crime
  • Safe from domestic abuse
  • Secure housing
  • Financial stability

Below these outcomes are descriptors of the family needs that make up the eligibility criteria and suggested data sources for identifying families with these needs.

To be eligible under Supporting Families, each family must include dependent children and/or expectant parents. Each family must also demonstrate a minimum of 3 eligibility criteria or family needs as set out in the national Supporting Families Outcomes Framework.

Troubled families

Phase 1

Phase 1 of the Troubled Families Programme involved meeting our target of 2,560 families between 2012 and 2015. We achieved this target. Of the 2,560 families turned around, 2,172 were for improvements in education, crime, and anti-social behaviour and 388 were for at least one family member returning to work.

Phase 2 expanded programme

Phase 2 of the Troubled Families Programme initially ran until March 2020 and was then extended until March 2022.

The programme required Kent to turn around 9,200 families by March 2020. To achieve this target, the programme must identify substantially more than 9,200 families.

Kent achieved this target and was one of only a few local authorities to hit 100%. A reduced target of 1,541 was put in place for the 2020 to 2021 year which recognises the challenges of engaging families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earned autonomy

The government introduced a new model in 2018 called ‘Earned Autonomy’ which provides upfront investment to enable faster service transformation and drive high quality support to families both during the lifetime of the programme and beyond. Kent went through a rigorous selection process and is now one of 14 local authorities to have been granted Earned Autonomy.

Supporting the programme

If you know a family who could benefit from support from Early Help, visit our Early Help team website for further information and advice.