Family Reunification Service

Working with vulnerable children and families to address parenting issues and improve communication.

Family Reunification Service

Working with vulnerable children and families to address parenting issues and improve communication.

WillisPalmer provides a Family Reunification Service (FRS) primarily for younger children who are accommodated under S.20 or older children subject to a Care Order where the local authority is considering safe reunification to parents.

Our multi-disciplinary team comprising Independent Social Worker, Psychologist and Family Support Workers work together with the family to resolve risks that could impact a successful reunification plan, then provide intensive support throughout, and following the child’s return home.

Family Support Workers provide parenting guidance, teaching and modelling, as well as observation of the child’s experience of being parented. The level of Family Support is decided by the local authority in consultation with the WillisPalmer team and reviewed as the reunification plan progresses.

The service was developed to support local authorities who seek to reduce their number of children in care and prevent further, or repeating, episodes of care being required.

Why Family Reunification Service?

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.

This is not down to a court’s decision whereby they have deemed that the family is now safe to look after the child. It is usually because the child reaches an age, whilst still in care subject to a Care Order, when they choose to return home and being 16 it is difficult for the local authority to prevent them.

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 to prevent them returning home and encountering the same problems that resulted in them being taken into care initially.

Using highly experienced and skilled experts 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.

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.

Benefits of FRS

  • Tackles the revolving cycle of children entering care, leaving care and returning home, only to be taken back into care because the problems in the family home were not addressed.
  • Cost-effective as potentially reduces the requirement for children to be taken into care.
  • Bespoke service provides tailored to the needs of the family.
  • Intervention carried out within the family home where the family is more at ease and prevents costly residential stays.
  • Family support workers can be factored into the intervention where there are child protection concerns and they can provide 24/7 intervention and practical support.
  • Services provided by expert professionals with a broad range of expertise and experience.
  • Child is at the heart of the process.

Contact us

For more information about our new innovative FRS model, please contact Operations Director Dave Wareham who can answer any questions you may have relating to the service. 

Delivering a diverse, reliable range of services to children and their families across the UK
D1, Parkside, Knowledge Gateway, Nesfield Road, Colchester, Essex CO4 3ZL
Tel: 01206 878178Contact Us

A Mackman Group collaboration - market research by Mackman Research | website design by Mackman