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Family Support Work

We have a team of reliable and experienced family support workers available.

Family Support is a key intervention aimed at keeping families together, improving parenting capacity, improving children and young people's behaviour and preventing children from entering the care system.

WillisPalmer provides excellent highly-skilled family support workers to help families experiencing difficulties. The intervention can be tailored from working with parents of new-born babies providing practical advice and support through to families of teenagers with challenging behaviour in a bid to improve communication and outcomes.

Family support is an integral part of the multi-disciplinary services we provide at WillisPalmer. We also provide family support as a stand-alone service for families needing assistance and practical help.

WillisPalmer are currently recruiting family support workers. Call us on 01206 878178 or email

Dave Wareham, Head of Service

Multi-Disciplinary Family Assessment Service

Family support is an essential component of our Multi-Disciplinary Family Assessment Service. A multi-disciplinary team of psychologists, psychiatrists and therapists are led by an Independent Social Worker with the process backed up by the supervision and intervention of family support workers, who can provide 24/7 support if needed.

The main aim of the MFA is to keep families together where it is safe to do so and provides a cost-effective and more ethical alternative to residential assessments where families are taken from the comfort and familiarity of their homes to a residential unit where the assessment is carried out.

The multi-disciplinary team of expert professionals are selected offering a bespoke service tailored to the needs of the individual case. The professionals work together throughout an eight-10 week period with the family in the family home. At the end of the eight weeks, a report is produced with advice and recommendations for the local authority.

Initially, the family may start off with 24/7 support from family support workers in their home although this may become less intense as the assessment progresses. Family support workers can offer practical advice and knowledge and throughout their shift they will observe the engagement between the family. These observations are documented in a report after each shift and these reports provide evidence-based documents which can feed into the ISW’s parenting assessment. Each shift report of observations is subject to WillisPalmer’s robust Quality Assurance process, ensuring high standards at all times.

WillisPalmer aims to use the same team of family support workers throughout each case to ensure continuity of care.

Parents cannot be subject to a parenting assessment until the baby is at least six weeks old but family support workers can provide assistance from birth acting as a prelude to the MFA and work with the family during the initial six weeks which ensures that there is a trusting relationship and familiarity after six weeks once the parenting assessment commences, which should hopefully place the family at ease. This prevents families having to experience ‘new’ support workers in their home at the beginning of the assessment as the introductory phase has already been completed.

Who is this model applicable to?

Local authorities or solicitors may wish to use the Multi-Disciplinary Family Assessment model when addressing cases where families are experiencing difficulties. The primary aim is to keep families together where possible and where it is safe to do so.

Those who may benefit include families experiencing problems with, for example, parental mental ill health, neglect, substance misuse problems, parental learning disability, where children are absconding from education or for young people at risk of exploitation.

Stand-alone family support

WillisPalmer delivers stand-alone family support after seeing the value that has been added during the MFA process. Families often require support without the need for formal intensive assessments and that is where the stand-alone service comes into play.

The local authority will refer a case where there are concerns about a family and a package of measures for stand alone family support intervention is agreed between the local authority, WillisPalmer and the family, with clear objectives as to what improvements need to be evidenced and what needs to change.

Throughout the process, family support workers work alongside the family in the family home offering guidance and assistance to improve their parenting capacity. The process is not an assessment but observations are made by the family support workers against the objectives outlined at the beginning of the process.

At the end of the intervention, a factual report is produced highlighting strengths and concerns against the initial objectives set. The report will include details of the family support sessions the family engaged with and progress made. While family support workers will not make recommendations following the intervention, the report provides local authorities with an evidence-based report of the family’s strengths, capabilities and any issues remaining.

ABC Family Support

ABC Family Support Family support service for parents with babies from birth to 12 months. Informed by NHS guidance for baby care, the main aim of this intervention is to promote attachment and help establish basic care skills and routines.

Each week, the family support worker completes a consistency scale as to how successfully the parents have engaged with the objectives set around basic care and to encourage attachment. At the same time, parents complete a weekly confidence scale as to how they feel they have benefitted from the support and engaged with the process.

The support package provided in the ABC service is typically eight weeks, although this can be extended. Hours for this service are tailored to the requirement of the local authority fixed fee including travel, our case management, out of hours and quality assurance service.

PEP Family Support

PEP Family Support is a 10-week parenting esteem programme for parent/carers with children aged 2 to 10 years. During the first half of the intervention, the Family Support Worker supports the parent to complete a positive parenting programme at home. In the second half of the intervention, strategies learned during the programme are modelled and reiterated at home with the parent for a further five weeks.

At the beginning of the programme, SMART parenting skill goals are agreed between a social worker, parent/carer and the WillisPalmer Family Support Co-ordinator. These goals are reviewed at week 10.

The Family Support Worker completes the consistency scale each week against the goals set out at the beginning of the programme while the parent completes a weekly confidence scale. In week 10, an evidence-based summary report is provided.

Fay Roffe, Family Support Co-ordinator

Our Family Support Workers

We have a team of reliable and experienced family support workers available. They all have experience in working directly with families in crisis with complex issues and challenges such as learning difficulties, drug and alcohol misuse, domestic abuse, mental health concerns, or where a child is at risk of entering the care system.

We provide emotional and practical support to families in need including listening, advice, advocacy, assistance in accessing local services such as food parcels, support groups and play activities. We provide continuous support to families for as long as required, allowing them to get back on their feet.

Our support workers provide one-to-one, intensive help to children and their families throughout the UK, plus a range of group support and structured play activities. Our family support workers are available for set periods and longer-term support too.

We are recruiting family support workers now. Call WillisPalmer on 01206 878178 or email

Quality Assurance

WillisPalmer has a rigorous quality assurance process in place to ensure we adhere to our high standards. Read more about our QA process.

Why WillisPalmer?

  • We have been established for 17 years providing multi-disciplinary intervention to vulnerable children and their families.
  • Our support is tailored to the needs of the family.
  • Our primary aim is to support families to keep them together where possible and safe to do so.
  • Family support workers provide critical support and intervention alongside practical support.
  • Observations are taken by the family support worker after every shift providing a sound evidence base for any report produced.
  • All reports are subjected to our rigorous Quality Assurance process.

What people say about our services

While we are proud to provide unique services, don't take our word for it. See what a team manager had to say about the assessment.

"I hereby confirm that the service provided by WillisPalmer has been nothing less than excellent. Communication has been prompt and efficient, with phone calls when necessary. We as an organisation would most certainly continue to use the services provided by WillisPalmer when needed."

L.E., Team Manager

Contact us

For more information about our family support service, please contact our Consultant Social Worker Dave Wareham on 01206 878169 or email or Family Support Co-ordinator Fay Roffe at

Make an enquiry

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