COVID-19 Guidance from WillisPalmer

Whilst the outbreak of Covid-19 is likely to cause some disruption to WillisPalmer services in the short-term, we are issuing guidance outlining our plans to minimise the impact of the virus.

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Multi-Disciplinary Services

Time Limited. Cost Effective. Evidence-Based.

WillisPalmer is proud to be a genuinely multi-disciplinary organisation with highly experienced and trained teams of expert social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists and family support workers.

With 16 years experience in the field, we are ideally placed to offer multi-disciplinary assessments and services to local authorities, courts and independent organisations.

Our multi-disciplinary approach proves timely, prevents delay and is cost effective. Our assessments can also be tailored to your needs.

Multi-Disciplinary Family Assessment Service

Our Multi-Disciplinary Family Assessment service is a prime example of our professionals working together to address complex problems and keep families together where possible and safe to do so. Following a referral,  WillisPalmer's multi-disciplinary team which can comprise social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists or family support workers depending on need and the problems presented, work together to assess the family and their parenting capacity during an eight-week period. At the end of the eight weeks, a report is produced with advice and recommendations for the local authority.

Our unique, genuinely multi-disciplinary approach to the welfare of children and families, aims to keep families together, safely, when children are on the edge of care. By working together as a team alongside families in their own homes, the multi-disciplinary family assessment model has proved to be cost-effective and the best outcomes for children are achieved within an eight week time scale, reducing the time that professionals spend with families as well as resources and reducing the length of time of uncertainty for children and families.

How does the MFA model work?

The skills of a broad range of highly experienced professionals are combined to offer a bespoke assessment of a family. The team examines the complex interpersonal relationships between family members to address any issues and ensure the best outcomes for children. Led by the Independent Social Worker, the entire assessment including the final report with recommendations is completed within an eight-week time-frame during which the families are observed during their every day routines and high levels of intervention are used.

Depending on the level of risk, 24-hour monitoring can be put in place through the use of trained family support workers.

The model is dynamic in nature, and because of its flexibility can be used in multiple ways offering an assessment process that is bespoke to the needs of the individual family.

The co-authored final report is produced by the assessment team after eight weeks. The report will be evidence based with clear recommendations and conclusions.

Who is this model applicable to?

Local authorities may wish to use the Multi-Disciplinary Family Assessment model when addressing cases where families are experiencing difficulties and children may be on the edge of care.

This may include:

  • Families living with the 'toxic trio' where families are experiencing problems with mental health problems, substance misuse and domestic abuse.
  • Parental mental health problems.
  • Parental substance misuse problems.
  • Neglect.
  • Child mental health problems or behavioural difficulties/conduct disorders.
  • Families experiencing domestic abuse.
  • Emotional or physical abuse.
  • Cases involving gangs or county lines drugs offending.
  • Children caught up in the criminal justice system.
  • Children absconding from education.
  • Children at risk of Child Sexual Exploitation.
  • Parental learning disability.

Equally, families may be experiencing a number of difficulties and require intervention to address these. Each assessment is bespoke according to the family's needs and the difficulties they are experiencing.

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

Multi-Disciplinary Family Restoration Service

WillisPalmer provides a genuinely Multi-Disciplinary Family Restoration Service primarily for children who are accommodated under S.20 or the subject of a Care Order or Interim Care Order. Children who are on the edge of care or in pre-proceedings may also benefit from aspects of the service.

The high quality, purposeful and evidence-based service is designed primarily, but not exclusively, to meet the needs of young people aged between 14-18.

Our multi-disciplinary team of experts comprising a social worker, psychologist and family support worker (FSW) work together to identify problems and work alongside the family to address these issues in a bid to keep families together and put an end to the revolving door phenomenon of children entering care, leaving care only to re-enter the care system at a later date.

Why MFR?

The majority of looked after children return home, according to research by the Family Rights Group, among others. 85% of all the children in state care return home to their family network or home communities within five years, and an estimated 92% return eventually. The possibility of a child’s return home in the following 12 months after leaving care remains high no matter how long a child has been away. Statistically, it is the most usual outcome.

Therefore, it is our aim at WillisPalmer that the process is carried out in a managed and phased stage, addressing the issues which led to the child or children being taken into care or at risk of entering the care system.

Using highly experienced and skilled professionals to work alongside the family, the service aims to prevent the revolving door phenomenon of children entering and re-entering care by addressing the core issues in conjunction with the family and children.

Basic Process - Preparation

  1. The local authority refers the child.
  2. WillisPalmer and the local authority hold a planning meeting that includes the child’s Independent Reviewing Officer.
  3. The WillisPalmer multi-disciplinary core team of a social worker, psychologist and family support workers (FSW) work together to produce a costed plan for the local authority's approval.
  4. Once approved, WillisPalmer begins a consultation process with parents, siblings, other family and current carers.
  5. Parents, the local authority and WillisPalmer agree the restoration plan.
  6. Parents and WillisPalmer consult the child and factor the child’s wishes and feelings into the plan.

Basic Process - Intervention

  1. The social worker co-ordinates the service, the psychologist provides a baseline and tests for change, and the FSW provides support to the family particularly in relation to the identified pinch points in relationships.
  2. The service incorporates solution-focused interventions, the theories of change model, Kolb’s learning styles, Baumrind’s parenting styles and, where very young children are concerned, notions of reciprocity, attunement and attachment.
  3. The FSW support may be required to start at a high level initially to:
    • a) Ensure the protection of the child.
    • b) Gather detailed information about family functioning through observations.
    • c) Help identify whether change has taken place.
    • d) Help the family overcome initial challenges.

However, as family relationships adjust, the family support worker/s' involvement should reduce.

Who would benefit from this model?

Local authorities may want to consider this approach for:

  • Children who are accommodated under S.20 of the Children Act
  • Children who are the subject of a Care Order
  • Children who are the subject of an Interim Care Order 
  • Children who are on the edge of care
  • Children who are in pre-proceedings
  • Young people aged 14-18 who have a history of entering and re-entering the care system
  • Families experiencing difficulties such as mental health problems, substance misuse, domestic abuse, emotional abuse, neglect and where children are therefore at risk of entering the care system.
  • Families struggling to cope who may need support in parenting and who will benefit from tailored support which will help them deal with issues in a different, more constructive manner.
  • Families where a young person is at risk of engaging in criminal behaviour.
  • Children who are absconding from and failing to engage in education putting them at risk of exploitation.

Further details

Over the past 16 years, WillisPalmer has been commissioned by over 40 local authorities in the UK and by over 250 firms of solicitors. We have also undertaken work for four different IFAs, residential establishments, schools, one university and many members of the public.

We currently feature on numerous framework contracts undertaking the whole range of assessment services, quality assurance functions and training.

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A multi-disciplinary organisation providing independent, high quality social work and psychological services. Contact us with your requirements and speak to a member of our team who will help you today.
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