Service to support families with 'greater needs' set to be launched in Flintshire

Reporter:

Owen Evans

A service is to launch aimed at helping families considered to have “greater needs”.

Flintshire Council has announced proposals to form an “early help hub” within the county have been commissioned in the hope of helping families in need.

The service, commissioned by the Flintshire Public Service Board, will fully launch in August.

A report written jointly by council officers Craig Macleod and Ann Roberts about the service, said: “There are a cohort of families who are often known to multiple agencies who don’t meet thresholds for ‘social services’, are receiving time intensive short-term interventions, are displaying reoccurring patterns of behaviour/challenges/crisis, with a clear risk their needs may escalate.

“In April 2016 the Flintshire Public Service Board agreed to seek a proposal from multi-agency partners about improving activity and interventions related to families that will benefit from early intervention and support.

“In response local research was undertaken to provide a ‘deep dive’ into the complex needs and engagement by 29 families with statutory and voluntary and community sector services in Flintshire. This revealed, with limited data sources, a minimum average cost of £107,500 per family related to these needs.

“Costs particularly related to domestic abuse, substance misuse, children becoming looked after, children missing school and crime and anti-social behaviour were among the most significant costs.”

The report said multiple needs often meant “multiple interactions with different services”, which “can make each individual problem more difficult”.

The hub aims to help people who have experienced two or more “adverse childhood experiences” – traumatic ordeals that occur before the age of 18 and are remembered throughout adulthood.

These can include verbal, mental, sexual and physical abuse, to being raised in a household where domestic violence, alcohol abuse, parental separation, parental incarceration, mental ill health or drug abuse is present.

The report adds: “Evidence shows children who experience stressful and poor quality childhoods are more likely to develop health-harming and anti-social behaviours, more likely to perform poorly in school, more likely to be involved in crime and ultimately less likely to be a productive member of society.

“The key aim of the EH Hub is to provide the greatest level of knowledge and analysis of all known intelligence and information across the multi-agency partnership to ensure all children, young people and families have access to advice and information about relevant early support to build coping skills and address any problems before these become entrenched.

”For families are at greater risk of escalating problems, [there will be] access to appropriate multi-disciplinary interventions as a matter of priority.”

The hub will aim to research information to make informed decisions about the appropriate response to family needs, provide a secure and confidential environment for multi-agency professionals to share information, and offer support to those who need it.

The report, to be discussed by members of the council’s social and health care overview and scrutiny committee on Thursday, added that the hub will not replace any current early intervention support that takes place.

Email:

owen.evans@nwn.co.uk

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