Trust secures over £1m funding to support families

Published: 12th Aug 2019

We are delighted to announce the Trust is the only West Midlands organisation to secure two DfE Innovation Programmes to better support families.

Birmingham Children’s Trust has been successful in becoming part of the latest DfE funded Supporting Families; Investing in Practice (SFIP) programme to better support families. The Trust is one of only three organisations nationally, and the only in the West Midlands, to be successful in bidding to be part of two practice developments:

  • Working with the Family Courts and in partnership with Solihull MBC, we will develop and implement a Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC), where judges meet very regularly with parents at risk of losing their children because of drug and alcohol problems. Parents are supported by dedicated specialists to recover and to be able to care safely for their children

  • Family Group Conferences: when children are at risk of removal from their parents’ care, we will bring together wider family groups and support them to develop plans that will keep their children safe and well cared for

Over £1m of funding from Government will support the Trust in developing these services.

Chair of Birmingham Children’s Trust, Andrew Christie, said: “Our success in securing participation in, and funding for, both of these initiatives, gives a clear message of confidence in what the Trust is doing, and the strong partnerships we have built with the courts, judges and other partners. These initiatives will support us in our ambition to keep children safe within their families.”

Councillor Kate Booth, Birmingham’s Cabinet Member for Children, said: “This announcement marks another step in our improvements in children’s services and we are delighted to participate in these two projects designed to help improve our understanding of what works in keeping children safe within their families.”

The Trust will work with the What Works Centre and Coram, in evaluating the impact of these initiatives across the city.

Further details on both projects can be found below, and you can view the full What Works Centre news release for more information. 

Family Drug and Alcohol Courts
This project provides a problem solving approach to care proceedings, where a team of substance misuse specialists, domestic violence experts, psychiatrists and social workers carry out an early assessment and agree an intervention plan with parents who come before the court in care proceedings. Once in proceedings, parents begin a “trial for change”, supported by the specialist team and with regular meetings with the judge, who reviews the progress being made as well as adjudicating in the case . The Family Drug and Alcohol Court model has been evaluated previously and found to have strong evidence of a positive effect on family reunification. As well as expanding the model to new sites, innovations of the FDAC model in existing sites will be tested to see if further improvements can be made.

Family Group Conferences
This project puts families at the heart of making safe decisions and plans for children that are at immediate risk of being taken into care. Children and young people are involved in the conference along with their wider family network, and often supported by an advocate from outside the family.