Children running across school playground

Redbridge chosen to lead the way in children’s social care innovation

Published: 10 April 2024

Redbridge Council has been selected today (Wednesday, 10 April 2024) to deliver the Families First for Children Pathfinder programme – improving services to help more children stay with their families in safe and loving homes, and protecting vulnerable children from harm where needed.

Following a successful initial pilot of the programme in Dorset, Lincolnshire, and Wolverhampton, Redbridge will take part in the next stage of the project, delivering vital services in a holistic way, helping children to stay with their families in safe and loving homes, whilst protecting vulnerable children where needed.

The programme will make sure that families access targeted early help sooner, supporting those experiencing a range of issues, including debt, housing, welfare and benefits needs, domestic abuse, addiction, or poor mental health, to help them overcome adversity before issues escalate and children are put at risk of harm.

Where child protection is necessary, it will be carried out by multi-agency child protection specialists with expertise and experience, and the wider family will stay involved in decision-making. 

Funded by a £2.5 million government grant, the programme will help develop the best practice models for the entire children’s social care system that can then be rolled out across the country.

Redbridge Council was selected following a successful bid by the Children’s Services team and joins seven councils across the country taking part in the programme. 

The Families First programme will transform how Redbridge supports families and children by:

  • Creating multi-disciplinary family help teams to make sure families with multiple needs can access all the support they need earlier and in one place. 
  • Making greater use of extended family members, with them being the first port of call if extra support is required, with practical and financial support provided to them if needed.
  • Establishing dedicated multi-agency child protection teams. 
  • Creating stronger and clearer multi-agency safeguarding processes, including an increased role for education and improved information sharing.

Adrian Loades, Acting Chief Executive of Redbridge Council, said: “Being selected as a Pathfinder for the Families First for Children programme is a huge achievement and reflects our council’s reputation for providing outstanding social work services for children and families. 

“Our Children’s Services teams work incredibly hard delivering vital services for local families and, as a result, are recognised as among the best in the country.

“By developing new ways of providing these services, Redbridge Council will help shape the future of Children’s Services while continuing to serve our local communities.”