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Family Solutions Somerset… where families lead change

Family Solutions Somerset is the overarching umbrella name for

It’s a new way of working in Children’s Social Care in Somerset, adopted in 2020 to transform the way children and their families are supported.

This is a social work practice model, based on our existing practice principles

  • Systemic working – seeing family experiences as part of the family, community and professional systems they interact with.
  • Strengths-based practice – working, wherever possible, with family strengths to motivate them to make changes, while recognising risks.
  • Relationship-based practice – understanding that respect, honesty and reliability are critical in building and maintaining relationships with families and partner professionals and building a supportive culture for all.

Family safeguarding model

What it is

  • Substance misuse, domestic abuse, adult mental health workers and children’s social workers will join together to form one team working with families.
  • Family Safeguarding will focus on working to develop parents’ strengths to positively change their behaviour and relationships and improve their children’s lives.

How it helps

  • Assisting parents to change so more children can stay at home with their birth family and thrive, not just survive.
  • Reducing the number of children being taken into care, lessening long term trauma for children.
  • Working with parents to reduce the number of those struggling with alcohol, drug, domestic abuse and mental health problems.
  • It’s preventative. Evidence in other areas has seen reduced numbers of police call outs, hospital admissions and attendances over time.
  • Improving lives faster.
  • Following Ofsted best practice to work in partnership with other agencies to improve services for vulnerable families.
  • Working as part of a specialist team helps practitioners to feel more confident, valued and supported.

Here’s a short video about Family Safeguarding


For more information email us –

Family Safeguarding Privacy Notice

Family Drug and Alcohol Court (FDAC)

What it is

  • FDAC is an alternative problem-solving court for care proceedings for families where drug and alcohol are a significant factor.
  • The specialist independent family court team is made up of social workers, substance misuse and mental health workers and a psychologist. FDAC provides a dynamic risk assessment and co-ordinates an intervention plan for parents during care proceedings.
  • FDAC is focussed on motivating parents to take responsibility for making changes to their own lives, positively changing their behaviour and working towards achieving abstinence from substance misuse to improve their children’s lives.

How it helps

  • Builds on parent’s potential and motivation to change.
  • Provides quick access to support and regular drug testing allowing parents to address their substance misuse and other issues.
  • Increases the number of children staying with or returning to, their birth parents at the end of care proceedings.
  • Provides a choice for parents to support engagement and relationships.
  • Allows parents to have regular discussions with the judge as part of reviewing their process.
  • Close working relationships with all professionals already involved with families.
  • An evaluation of other national FDACs has evidenced better outcomes for parents, children and families than in normal proceedings with more parents overcoming their substance misuse.
Document preview

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Help and support for anyone concerned about drugs or alcohol


What it is

  • Pause is a national charity set-up in 2013.
  • We started working with Pause in 2020, creating the Pause Somerset practice.
  • An initial scoping exercise demonstrated the need for Pause in Somerset, identifying 83 women who between them had 226 children removed and taken into care.
  • Women affected by repeat removals often face multiple and interlinking challenges and the most common concerns identified for this group were domestic abuse, drug and alcohol misuse and mental health issues.
  • Provides an intense programme of support, which aims to give women the opportunity to reflect, tackle destructive patterns of behaviour, and to develop new skills and responses that can help them create a more positive future.

How it helps

  • Aims to prevent the damaging consequences of thousands more children being taken into care.
  • Helps women to find the time to focus on themselves. To do this, they agree to take the most effective form of reversible contraception during the intervention, thereby creating a space to pause, reflect, learn and aspire.

Safe Families

What it is

  • Safe Families was set-up as a national charity in 2012.
  • We started working with Safe Families in 2020 and are one of over 35 local authorities across the UK that works with the charity.
  • Trained volunteers offer hope, belonging and support to children, care leavers and families.

How it helps

  • Provides support that improves parents’ and carers’ wellbeing and confidence.
  • Reduces the need for children to go in to care.
  • De-escalates family need, enabling families working with Children’s Services to be sustained in their own communities.

Last reviewed: August 30, 2023 by William

Next review due: March 1, 2024

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