Families Matter Service

About the service

The Families Matter Service works with vulnerable children and young people aged 0-19 and their families who present with complex needs below the threshold for statutory intervention.

How it works 

Working to a whole family approach and using the expertise of multi-agency colleagues, a time limited and intensive intervention will be afforded to the family to assist them in addressing both their individual and whole family needs.

The aim of the provision is to:

  • prevent escalation of need;
  • build resilience; and 
  • equip families with the knowledge, skills and resources to live safe, independent and fulfilling lives without the need for more costly interventions.
Upon receipt of a referral and clarity that the threshold for the referral meets the families 
matter criteria, a worker is assigned to the family. They will engage the family and gain 
consent for a Child and Family Early Help Assessment to be undertaken. 
This assessment is based on the Common Assessment Framework, (CAF) covering the domains of:
  • Child development
  • Parenting and family 
  • Environmental factors

How we plan

Once complete, a robust plan is compiled in conjunction with the family and other professionals involved with the family. The families matter worker will act as the lead professional and will therefore be:

  • The single point of contact that children, young people and their families can trust and who is able to support them in making choices
  • The person to co-ordinate and ensure that children, young people and their families receive appropriate interventions to meet assessed need. These services will be reviewed as part of the child plan to ensure that they are having the desired affect and achieving positive outcomes.
  • A consistent professional who has an overview of the family as a whole and the needs of the individuals.

Our review process 

The work will be reviewed usually at 3 months to ensure that progress is being made and that the plan is meeting the needs of the family and ensuring the child and young person’s safety. The Families Matter Team, work to a 6 month model of intervention, working intently to bring about change that the family can then build upon.

Other cases 

For those cases that have been assessed by the borough’s Referral and Assessment team and the outcome is that services at the Families Matter Threshold would be appropriate, these can be stepped down via a family support meeting and an early help plan.

Who we work with 

The role of our partners 

Partnership is critical to the work of the Families Matter Service. Effective and collaborative co-working ensures the needs of the children, young people and families are met in a holistic, timely and comprehensive way. 

Services and partners we work with

The Families Matter Service has specific partner agency workers based within the teams for some time during the week to provide support, consultation, and joint work. These currently include staff from: 

  • Targeted Housing Support
  • Department for Works and Pensions
  • Domestic violence support groups
  • NHS mental health services
  • Youth services
  • Substance misuse services
  • Children's social care services
  • Community and voluntary services

How to access the services and criteria 

Any agency or professional can refer to a Families Matter locality team where they assess a child or young person to have needs that do not meet the threshold for statutory social care services but require targeted support. 

Criteria include:

  • Crime/ASB
  • Children who have not been attending school regularly
  • Children who need help - who are subject to Early Help Assessments or under Section 17, of the Children Act 1989
  • Adults out of work or at risk of financial exclusion or young people at risk of worklessness
  • Families affected by domestic violence and abuse
  • Parents and children with a range of health problems

Where to send your completed referral form

The completed forms should be sent to families.matter@sutton.gov.uk

Other services we offer

In addition to the provision of lead professional role to families with complex needs below the threshold of statutory intervention, The Families Matter Service delivers the following other services:

The Incredible Years Parenting Programme

This is a 12 week parenting course for parents with children aged 3-8years. The focus is on developing parenting skills in a number of areas including stimulation and behaviour management. The service is also able to provide a course for parents with toddlers if demand dictates. For access professionals are required to complete the Families Matter referral form and send to the Families Matter inbox. It is recognised that families who would benefit from this intervention my not necessarily have complex needs.

Bespoke pieces of work as part of a child’s plan

For those children and young people who are open to statutory intervention the service is able to provide bespoke pieces of work as part of a child’s plan. In order to do this the above criteria needs to be met and clarity is required from the allocated social worker as to what part of the plan is to be addressed through the service. The referral form will need to be completed and a meeting convened in order to set up the work with the family.

Contact Us

Please contact families.matter@sutton.gov.uk or call 020 8436 1720 or 1719.

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