Think Family, Work Family Team Briefing

Think Family, Work Family (TFWF) Team Briefing, February 2020


Why Talk about Think Family, Work Family?

For Families: Thinking & Working Family supports families in a way that means they don’t have to repeat themselves and manage their way through a stream of disconnected services. It offers them a more coordinated and therefore more supportive approach.

For Services: Thinking and working family saves time and resources; when services work together to support a family in a planned way, it can improve outcomes and lead to greater satisfaction for staff.


How to use this briefing?

This briefing should provide you with some basic information to be able to deliver an awareness session with a staff team around the topic of Think Family, Work Family.

  • Read the Think Family, Work Family Guidance yourself.
  • Work through the information, using it as a prompt to promote discussions.
  • Use the discussion points at the end to explore how your team works with the topic.
  • Consider using some case studies from your own agency.
  • Consider the Think Family Work Family Organisation Self Assessment (Appendix C in guidance).


What is Think Family, Work Family?

The ‘Think Family, Work Family’ approach adopted in Leeds recognises that often people live as part of families, who provide support for each another. This approach is important in helping to understand the unique circumstances of an adult or child, and the strengths and resources within the family to provide for their needs, but also identifies where additional support may be required.

To ‘Think Family’ means that all staff need to remember that people rarely live in complete isolation and therefore we need to understand the needs of the wider family when we are working with a child, parent or adult.

To ‘Work Family’ means that all staff and services need to talk more, work together better and make sure that all the people working with children, young people and adults in a family, plan and coordinate their work.




Things to consider

All practitioners should ‘Think Family, Work Family’ when responding to the needs of families whereby the needs of an individual potentially impacting on the needs of another. Individuals (children, young people or adults) may be more susceptible to risk and harm where they are living with another individual who has support needs.

Family members may have their own care or health needs or need support to carry out their caring role; they may also be experiencing or at risk of abuse or neglect. Consideration of the demands and impact on others will help ensure the arrangements made are sustainable and reflect the support needs of the family. When considering people’s family networks, it is important in particular to recognise the role and demands on carers within the family.

Family means different things to different people. We know that communities and cultures consider family in a variety of ways and this is not static. Families change, develop and are often affected by external circumstances and environments. Therefore it is important to explore with individuals what family means to them, and the individuals who make up their family (including blood relatives, extended family or community members).


Guiding Standards:

Safeguarding first - Everyone has a right to be safeguarded from abuse or neglect.

Listening and Communication – We recognise the importance of good communication and listening well, and are committed to ensuring that practitioners communicate effectively with each other and with families.

Permanency - The majority of families want to stay together wherever possible, (although this may be families in widest sense) and we will provide support to do so in the safest and most appropriate way, increasing the opportunities for better outcomes.

Right Relationships - When working with an individual child, young person or adult it is important to think of their relationships with their family and their wider context such as friends and local community.

Planning - A holistic approach to planning should include identifying strengths of individuals and the whole family, as well as recognising individual needs. All practitioners should be clear about the outcomes they are aiming to achieve and how their work complements that of other practitioners.

Information sharing and consent - The need for consent (and the consideration of capacity to consent) to share information should always be considered.

Reducing barriers to effective multi-agency working - Leeds is committed to a culture of professional challenge where debate and differences of opinion are welcomed.

Recognising and responding to needs early - In order to determine the most effective response to emerging concerns about a family or an individual within a family, the Leeds Early Help Approach (2014) supports practitioners to hold multi-agency conversations to explore concerns and potential provision of support. Initial concerns should be discussed with line managers and agency safeguarding leads as appropriate, and then discussed with the appropriate agency that is able to work with you to support the identified need.

Restorative Practice and Strengths Based Approach - Restorative Practice and a Strengths Based Approach are key elements of the Leeds approach to working with children, young people and families. These approaches are underpinned by values of empathy, respect, honesty, acceptance, responsibility, and mutual accountability.

Supporting Carers – We recognise the impact caring responsibilities have on individuals and how much this  can affect the life and health of the carer themselves, and therefore their needs should also be  considered within a ‘Think Family, Work Family’ approach. Practitioners should ask appropriate and  relevant questions to identify if there are any family members with additional caring responsibilities.


Discussion Points:

  • How do we Think Family & Work Family with our service-user group?
  • Is there more that we could do?
  • Do we need to change any of our ways of working?
  • Do any of us have examples or tips for putting this into practice?
  • Is there a further training need in our team?


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