Top tips for a strong Team Around the Family (TAF)

Early Help should not just be delivered by one designated team: All professionals working with children and their families in Oldham are responsible for supporting families. Early Help is everyone’s business!

Partner led earliest possible help gets the family the support they need at the earliest stage of the problem. Dealt with swiftly and correctly; the problem might never need to escalate to the MASH front door/Targeted Early Help.

A TAF process means Families and workers from different backgrounds will work in partnership to improve outcomes for children and help achieve positive long-term change for families. Following an assessment of the family (using the Family Help Tool). There will be a plan of action on a form called the Family Action Plan.

The plan is made in partnership. It is a simple document which states what the family, and the people helping the family, have together agreed to do to make things better for the child and family.

Relationships really matter, so where possible, one Professional should be the lead main contact for the family throughout the process, so the family don’t have to have lots of confusing conversations.

Our Good Practice Tips

The Meetings

  • TAF Meetings should be organised in a way that enables the family, including children (where age appropriate) to feel included and comfortable taking part. This includes consideration of the venue, facilities available for children, and the length of the meeting.
  • Professionals should recognise that meetings can be intimidating and stressful for families and should be planned in advance with invitations sent in writing, using families’ preferred method of contact.
  • Partners should prioritise attendance wherever possible and send a representative from their service as a substitute if they are unable to attend.
  • The lead professional should introduce the meeting, ask everyone to introduce themselves and ensure that the language used in the meeting is clear and jargon free. They should also ensure it is focused and does not continue longer than it needs to; and that all in attendance contribute to the meeting.
  • The meeting should focus on the strengths of the families and encourage them to meet their own needs, drawing upon their own wider networks.

The Family Action Plan

  • The lead professional should delegate another professional in the meeting to make a clear and concise record of agreed decisions and actions in the Family Action Plan, with all participants including the family receiving a copy, ideally before they leave the meeting.
  • The plan should be developed alongside the family with SMART actions agreed, with clear responsibility for actions and timescales for completion.
  • The family need to understand what is required, have ownership of the plan and must have a copy of the action plan. The family should be encouraged to keep the action plan in a place where it is clearly displayed for reference.
  • The roles of each practitioner involved in the plan should be clear.
  • The plan must also document what progress has been made with clear links to the actions.
  • Reasons for a lack of progress should be noted clearly.
  • The family should be asked if there is anyone else they wish to be involved with their plan.
  • The plan must be clear and concise, with no duplication, and easy for the whole family to understand.
  • Needs and risks must be clearly identified to inform coordinated support and intervention.
  • The plan should be reviewed at regular intervals with the family, to ensure it is working, is enabling positive change and any necessary amendments can be made.
  • The date of the next review meeting should be agreed with the family at the meeting, allowing realistic timescales to complete actions but avoiding drift in the plan