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Stronger Families Programme


Stronger Families is a way of working with County Durham families who'd like support with any problems or difficulties they may be having. This page explains how we can help you and your family.

Why work with the whole family?

If any member of the family - a child, young person or adult - has a problem, it generally has an effect on other people in the family. If the whole family is supported, it's more likely that things will improve.

How will we help you?

The first steps - talking with you

With your consent, a 'lead worker' will ask about you and your family. They will ask what's going well, are there any problems and what extra support you and your family think might help. This is done in a single session so you don't have to repeat your story to lots of different professionals.

You can speak to your lead worker at any time about any concerns or issues that you or your family are experiencing. You can help to choose who your lead worker is.

The second step - the plan

This involves a meeting with you, your lead worker and other workers who could help your family. This is called a Team around the Family (TAF) meeting. At this meeting, there'll be a discussion about the support you need and a plan will be agreed. There will be times when you or your children may be asked to do something as part of the plan.

The aim of the meeting is to get the best support for you and your child or children. Your lead worker will make sure that everyone in your TAF does what they say they will to support you.

The third step - the review

Everyone will come together to see how well the plan is working and if anything needs to change or what extra practical help you may need.

When you, your family and your TAF feel that you no longer need extra support, you can agree that the plan is complete and the meetings are no longer needed. At this stage the TAF will close, though you and your child or children can still be in regular contact with professionals to make sure that you continue to do well.

Who will work with my family?

The TAF will bring together the different people who'll be able to offer support to all members of your family. This could include people from housing, health visitors, school or nurseries, probation, drug or alcohol services and a whole range of support services available through the community and voluntary sector.

Will it be confusing having all those services involved?

No, everyone involved, including you, will agree on one person to act as your 'lead worker'. They will be your main contact and will support you through the whole process. They will listen to your views and arrange support for you and your family.

Who will have information about me and my family?

Only workers who need to know about you will have information about you and your family. However, there may be times when the people working with you may need to share this information. For example:

  • when they need to find out urgently if a child or young person is at risk of serious harm
  • to help a child or young person who is at risk of harm
  • when the adult is at risk of harm
  • to help prevent or detect a serious crime

Providing information to the Office for National Statistics

In order to support national research, we will share the personal data we hold on individuals and families. This will include: name, dates of birth, postcode, programme ID number, programme start and end dates as well as identifiers such as programme IDs, national insurance numbers (NINOs), and unique pupil numbers (UPNs). This will be linked with information from public agencies. 

The information is to help the government and local service providers understand whether or not the programme has been effective in reducing offending, truancy and getting people ready for work and to help improve the service over time.

A data agreement is in place to ensure that:

  • the data can only be used for carrying out research;
  • the linked data cannot be used to make decisions about individuals;
  • the linked information is anonymised to reduce the risk of individuals being identified;
  • it will be impossible for any person or family to be identified from any published reports;
  • the linked personal data will not be shared with or made available to the local authority or any other public agency;
  • all data is transferred, handled and stored in accordance with the Data Protection Act;
  • appropriate measures are in place to prevent unauthorised use of the data;
  • the data is destroyed after five years.

The Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) has commissioned the Office for National Statistics to carry out data linking for the evaluation of the programme.

What should I do if I do not want the information held to be shared?

If you do not want us to pass on information about you to the DCLG and Office for National Statistics (ONS) you can:

  1. Inform your lead worker who will notify the Think Family Programme Team.
  2. Get in touch with the Think Family Programme Team directly using the details in the contact us section of this page.

How can I find out more?

Speak to somebody who is currently working with you, for example a health professional, your child's school or a housing officer. You can also contact our First Contact Service.

Contact us
First Contact/Social Care Direct
03000 267 979
0191 383 5752

Think Family Programme
03000 265 763
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