Job Alerts

Sign up to receive custom job alerts and to apply for jobs through the website.

A password will be e-mailed to you.

Family Safeguarding Model

Family Safeguarding in Peterborough

Most children who are facing the greatest risks to their wellbeing are those who live in families where at least one of the adults is struggling with mental or emotional health issues, substance or alcohol difficulties, or where there is domestic abuse.  Under the Family Safeguarding approach, children’s social work teams are expanded to include adult practitioners who are experts at supporting parents to address these challenges.

A whole family approach to keeping children safe has made ‘a massive difference’ to the lives of some of Peterborough’s most vulnerable residents – a newly published research project has found.

Peterborough was one of four authorities that benefited from initial funding from the Department for Education (DfE) to further test the model, initially developed in Hertfordshire.

And now a DfE evaluation into the project in Peterborough shows how effective it has been at keeping more children safely in their own families and helping parents to solve long standing difficulties in their own lives.

It works by having mental health, substance misuse and domestic abuse specialists working alongside children’s social workers, in one team and supporting the whole family with tailored programmes delivered for individual parents and often in their own homes.

Since the implementation of Family Safeguarding in Peterborough,

  • The number of children coming into care has remained stable, while similar local authorities have almost all seen a significant rise.
  • The number of children on a child protection plan in Peterborough has fallen by approximately 20%.
  • The city has seen a 25% reduction in applications for care proceedings applications going to Court, and care proceedings are now at an all-time low in Peterborough.

To access the full report:



Family Safeguarding has three core elements:

1. Multi-disciplinary teams (MDTs): specialist adult workers with domestic abuse, substance misuse and mental health expertise working within social work teams. Group case supervisions are also held with all workers allocated to a case.

2. Motivational Interviewing (MI): MI supports families in dealing with a variety of mental health, substance misuse and domestic violence issues planning and connecting them with the resources they need to achieve such change and helping them to find their own personal motivation for positive change.

3. Structured Workbook: a new method of recording case notes with the aim of improving information sharing, streamlining processes and reducing the amount of time spent reporting.

Find out more about how we have implemented the Family Safeguarding model in this interview in Social Work News with Service Director for Children’s and Safeguarding  for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough councils, Lou Williams. Interview from page 32.

The Family Safeguarding Model has already changed the lives of families in Peterborough:

You were my first helping hand on my recovery journey. You helped me through those difficult months

– Taken from a note written to one of our Mental Health Practitioners by a service user. See more here.