Members of the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee, were presented with a report outlining the approach being taken by the Highland Community Planning Partnership in developing a whole system approach to family support, which will initially launch in Lochaber.
A programme, backed by Scottish Government funding, is due to be implemented in Lochaber as an initial pilot, which will see the recruitment of a dedicated project manager, prior to a further roll-out across Highland.
The Lochaber pilot will also be supported by establishing a project and delivery team who will be responsible for developing a partnership approach using the national principles for holistic whole family support.
Chair of the Health, Social Care and Wellbeing Committee, Councillor David Fraser, said:
“Through the Community Planning Partnership’s integrated children’s service plan 2021 – 2023, the partnership has a vision for children and young people to have the best possible start in life and enjoy being young, ensuring they are loved, confident and resilient and can achieve their potential.
“At its heart is the key principle of supporting families to stay together wherever possible, while ensuring that children feel safe.
“Early, effective and collaborative intervention is an essential part of ensuring that family relations do not reach crisis point.”
The Lochaber pilot will look to provide holistic support which addresses the needs of children and adults in a family, in tandem, and to do so at the time of need, rather than at crisis point.
Furthermore, it seeks to support families to flourish and reduce the chances of family breakdown and of children entering the care system.
Councillor Fraser continued:
“The preventive interventions, which form part of the overall strategy, should also support adults in a family’s ability to engage with other support that helps them access the labour market, pursue qualifications, or progress in employment, thereby enabling them to improve their financial situation.”
On the 20th December 2021, the Community Planning Partnership board agreed a proposal for a change and innovation programme to develop and shape the themes that emerged from the children’s services workshop held in November 2021.
These themes included:
• Developing family-based approaches – the importance of local hub/community teams with opportunities for co-location focused on the needs of the child and family;
• a stronger approach to prevention and early intervention in pre-birth and early years;
• appropriate crisis intervention at the right time (24-hour services) and post crisis intervention support, including therapeutic supports;
• developing the workforce – retention, capacity and shared understanding to promote collaboration.