Family Service Expands – DNG Online Limited

A VITAL support service helping at-risk families in Dumfries and Galloway is growing due to huge demand from struggling parents.

The council’s Family Support Team was set up 18 months ago and has become a vital service for around 200 vulnerable children and their families at the height of the pandemic.

The team, made up of social workers, now supports 226 children and 129 families, many of whom struggle with alcohol, drug and/or mental health issues.

New employees are being recruited after a very difficult first quarter.

“The first quarter of 2022 has been a busy and challenging period for the Family Support Service, with an increase in referrals (an additional 74) and long-term staff sickness absences due to significant underlying health issues. “said Stephen Morgan, of the council. social action department.

Mr. Morgan is a senior manager within the Children and Families Section, and he has produced a report for next week’s meeting providing an update on the development of the Family Support Team.

He wrote: ‘Our second senior social worker is now installed in the team which supported the other senior social worker, front line staff and capacity issues.

The report says the Family Support Team is following national guidelines for positive change, but added emphasis is placed on keeping families together and keeping children safe.

Mr Morgan wrote: ‘If the children live with their families and are safe and feel loved, they should stay there. Their family should get all the help they need to stay together.

“If they need extra help when things get tough, they should get it.

“This underscores the need for our teams to focus where intensive family support is available for all families so they can have the help they need when they need it with the aim of keeping families together. and keeping children out of care, interrupting and caring for intergenerational cycles of trauma, nurturing meaningful and loving relationships.

The social work report identified a “significant theme” of drug and alcohol problems for many supported families.

This has enabled the Family Support Team to receive additional funding from the Regional Alcohol and Drug Partnership, which will pay for two additional team members.

This will help ensure family support workers can be based in Stewartry, Annandale and Eskdale, reducing travel time and making it easier for the team to respond to families based in these areas.

Of the current referrals, 44 families are requesting support for parental mental health issues. The team is now helping families become more confident in parenting and managing their homes.

They also offer support during appointments to parents and their children, and most importantly help families develop their support networks within their families, friends and communities.

The council agreed in July 2021 to invest £535,000 a year over three years to fund the work of the Family Support Team.

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