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Children's social care

FACT22: Improving outcomes for children in need

A mother smiles at the camera, whilst holding her young son who is stood in her lap.

Improving outcomes

National demand for children’s services is rising while social worker shortages and increased pressure on resources means that new thinking is vital. Getting this right is not about doing more with less; it is about giving providers the freedom to do things differently.

FACT22 (Families Achieving Change Together) is an innovative approach to supporting families and children in need. Following a successful pilot funded by the Department of Education innovation programme, FACT22 operated across Cheshire East and Coventry, and the model has been adopted by a number of other local authorities.

In Cheshire East since 2015, FACT22 has:

  • Reduced the re-referral rate into the service from 23% to 8.8%
  • Reduced the average social worker’s caseload by 30%.
  • Reduced reliance on social work agency staff.
  • Achieved 95% engagement from families.

“Using the FACT22 model has helped us move to a place where we have significantly reduced reliance on costly agency staff, and we’re able to draw on the different skill sets of the Family Workers, Social Work Practitioners and volunteers within the FACT22 pods.

“The service has freed up our social workers to focus their time on higher risk families and child protection cases, while still making sure children in need are prioritised. The FACT22 model means our families have more face time with staff, so they really drill down into the resilience, networks and strength those families have. We’re committed to the model, we’re seeing results and now we’re even placing our social work students with FACT22 – the service is helping us ‘grow our own’ workforce.”

– Jacquie Sims, Director of Children’s Services, Cheshire East Council

The model

FACT22 was designed together with young people, their families and the community. It cuts the number of children escalating to child protection, reducing repeat referrals to social care and social work caseloads.

It provides families with the intensive support needed to achieve change, focusing on the hidden strengths that family already have, helping them to find sustainable solutions to change their lives.

Our teams are organised into ‘pods’, with each case allocated a family worker. Family workers are managed by a qualified social worker who oversees the team.

Volunteer peer mentors and family role models work alongside our staff, helping families to sustain positive changes during and after FACT22 involvement.

This model freed up qualified social workers to manage their high-risk caseloads while focusing other resources on lower risk children on the cusp of the system.

Our approach helps to prevent the escalating needs, risks and costs associated with intervening too late, and unlock capacity that already exists within communities. All service staff are trained by Eileen Murphy Consultants in supporting Solution Focussed Approaches with families.

Support available through the service:

  • Targeted and intensive engagement for children and families
  • Dedicated keyworker support
  • Planning, delivery and review of individual programmes of support (Child in Need plans)
  • Signposting and support to access positive activities
  • Delivery of parenting groups and individual parenting home coaching
  • Volunteer mentoring from adults and young people

By surrounding the family with a social worker, a team of family workers, and volunteer peer mentors and family role models, this results in:

  1. reduced number of escalations to child protection
  2. social worker time and Local Authority resources used more effectively
  3. reduced number of repeat referrals into Child in Need status

“I wish Catch22 had been around eight years ago to support me with my little girl, if i’d had this kind of support back then my life would be so different now and I would never have lost Lexi*. Catch22 don’t come into my home and tell me everything I am doing wrong instead you have to come in and actually supported me in and guided me towards ways to change things.”