A proportion of adults known to the mental health, substance misuse, physical / sensory and learning disability services have children. In common with the population as a whole, most of these parents are committed to their children and want what is best for them. The presence of additional vulnerabilities for adults as parents/carers does not automatically preclude the possibility of good parenting.

It is important, therefore, that when a practitioner is working with an individual within a family, child or adult, they need to take a holistic approach. This considers the individual as a member of the family who will be affected by their behaviours and who, in turn, will have an impact on each family member. These impacts may be positive and supportive or may be negative. When considering any vulnerabilities or risks that they have identified practitioners should consider the support available to the individual and family from extended family, the wider community and other professionals.

This protocol (updated from the 2010 version) does not require complicated change or for everyone to be an expert in every aspect of family life.  Think Family, Work Family should be adopted by all practitioners- whether working with children or adults. 


Think Family, Work Family simply means:

  • Think Family – people rarely live in isolation so you need to think about the needs of the whole family regardless of whether it is an adult or child that you are working with.

  • Work Family – you need to communicate with others working with different family members and coordinate your efforts for the best outcomes for the whole family, using Team Around the Family (TAF) approaches.

  • Think Family, Work Family is an approach whereby in their day to day roles, all practitioners across Adult and Children’s services are identifying, considering and appropriately responding to the safeguarding needs of all family members.

  • It places a responsibility on all practitioners to respond to identified issues from signposting and referral, through to providing services. 



Further information on Think Family, Work Family:

Documents available for you to print off: