We have been delivering the Families First project in Bradford since 2014.
Funded by Bradford Council through the Government’s Troubled Families Programme, it supports local families dealing with issues including domestic abuse, low school attendance, poor mental health, joblessness, child sexual exploitation and anti-social behaviour with referrals coming from schools, social care departments and health professionals and the Police.
The family is assigned a key worker who works with them for between six and nine months. The aim is to offer help when difficulties are first identified, either by families themselves or professionals, so that their problems don’t escalate. The initial assessment focuses on three questions:
- What are we worried about?
- What’s going well and who helps you?
- Who needs to do what to make the worries go away?
The key worker supports the family to address these questions and makes sure help is provided from other agencies if needed. The family can build a relationship with the key worker so they feel supported by one person rather than being passed around between different organisations.
One of our key workers, Kirrin, worked with Francesca and her Mum, Julie in 2017. They were referred by the Police after Francesca had been violent towards Julie.
Julie: “Kirrin worked really well with Francesca on a 1.1 basis at home and at school. She would let me know how the sessions were going without betraying Francesca’s trust and this approach worked really well for Francesca as she could really trust Kirrin. Her attitude started to improve and she‘s no longer violent towards me
“My daughter has gone back to the loving daughter I knew she could be before her violent outbursts towards me and her sister. I can’t thank Kirrin and Families First enough for the support they‘ve given us. Not only has her behaviour changed for the better at home, she’s also excelling in school and on track to get some good grades in her GSCE’s this summer.
“Kirrin had an excellent way of engaging and talking with Francesca, the way she explained things was amazing and easy for us both to understand so we could make the changes she suggested.
“We’ve now booked a family holiday for a few months’ time and Francesca’s looking forward to it. This would not have been possible without the intervention of Kirrin and Families First.
“It saved us as a family”
Francesca: “When I first met Kirrin I was nervous and stubborn and didn’t want anyone working with me or my mum but we got along straight away and I realised she only wanted to help us. She was genuine, kind and I could trust her and she understood me and the things I was dealing with. Thanks to Kirrin, the sessions we had, and the techniques she gave me, I’m much more relaxed and calm. Kirrin’s approach was non- judgemental and I wasn’t embarrassed about working with her and I felt comfortable asking for advice and help. I will really miss working with her! Both me and my mum can’t thank her enough!"