Agenda item

Family Valued Programme

Briefing Note of the Interim Director for Children’s Services


The Board considered a briefing note of the Interim Director for Children’s Services which provided an update on the progress and impact of the Family Valued Programme during the funded period, and outlined next steps.


Family Valued was introduced in Coventry Children’s Services as part of the national Strengthening Families, Protecting Children (SFPC) Programme; a 5-year programme funded by the Department for Education (DfE), focussing on safely reducing the number of children entering care, through implementing one of three programmes: Leeds Family Valued, Herefordshire Family Safeguarding, North Yorkshire’s No Wrong Door.


Coventry City Council were one of the adopter local authorities of the Family Valued Programme; a Leeds City Council whole-system change programme seeking to create a shift in culture towards working ‘with’ families rather than doing things ‘to’ or ‘for’ them. The overall aim was to support more children to live safely at home with their families and within their communities, through introducing restorative practices and services.


Coventry Children’s Services received grant funding of £4,204,141 over a 2.5-year period. Coventry Family Valued launched in April 2021, with the funded period ending in September 2023. The grant funded 36 full-time equivalent (FTE) additional posts in Children’s Services to support the implementation of Coventry Family Valued. These additional posts have seen the significant expansion of the Family Group Conference (FGC) Service, additional capacity within the Connected Persons Team and Participation Team, the implementation of a Reunification Project and the creation of a Restorative Practice Team.


Alongside the additional posts has been an implementation plan consisting of six workstreams: 1) Sustainability, Finance and Performance, 2) Embedding Relationship Based Practice, 3) Expansion of Family Group Conferencing and New Restorative Services, 4) Promoting Connected Persons and Permanence through Special Guardianship Orders, 5) Reunification Project, 6) Voice and Influence.


Coventry Family Valued branding and communications across Children’s Services and the partnership has centred around the three spires of Coventry Family Valued, to support practitioners, managers, and partners to connect with the aims and objectives of the programme: Spire 1 - A child friendly city, Spire 2 - Family-led decision making, Spire 3 - The Coventry Way.


The Board questioned Officers and received responses on a number of matters relating to the Family Valued Programme including:


·  Family Group Conferencing (FGC) and referral percentages – the criteria and reasons for engagement and success rate including links to the Family Group Network.

·  The financial sustainability of the program and the expectations for the lifecycle of the grant.

·  Assessments done by the Connected Persons Team instead of Child Social Workers.

·  The Youth Parliament Events.

·  Corporate Parenting training for elected Members.

·  The differences in levels of support between the Connected Persons Team and Special Guardianship Orders.

·  The fostering process for family members considered as connected persons.

·  Court proceeding costs and bid costs.


Councillor P Seaman (Cabinet Member for Children and Young People) thanked officers for the briefing note and recognised the unquantifiable value the programme has provided to children’s services to, most importantly, keep children out of care. Most importantly, the programme has helped to change the whole culture of children’s services and will continues to have knock on effects for families as well as reducing costs. She further emphasised that beneficial impacts have been achieved even within the wider context of national challenges to children’s services and the unsustainable bidding process. Lastly, she drew attention to the Reunification Project as a key aspect of the programme that offers hope to children and families.


RESOLVED that the Board:


1.  Notes the current progress and impact for children, young people and their families.


2.  Notes the next steps in relation to sustaining and growing Coventry Family Valued.

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