The Family Solutions Team (FST) is part of Sandwell Children's Trust.
FST works across all services including Social Care and Early Help services. The Team offers a crisis response intervention across these services and responds within 24 hours to referrals where a child appears to be on the edge of care due to family relationship break down situations, as well as offering longer term support.
The team is made up of qualified social workers and a social Care assistant as well as Business support. The team also has a Play Therapist who works across all services. There is a Team Manager who supports the team’s work as well as managing referrals.
The Team works predominately with 10-17-year olds however do occasionally work with younger children.
The Team’s primary focus is to prevent children and Young people being admitted in to Care via Section 20 of the Children Act. FST work directly with families and their children to try to improve family relationships and use relationship based social work methods focusing on family strengths.
The team also supports the Trust’s other services to explore and work towards returning children and young people back to the care of family and connected persons if safe to do so.
FST accept referrals from other Trust services and do not accept direct referrals from outside of the trust or self-referrals.
Family Solutions Team also encompasses the Family Group Conference (FGC) service which is an independent accredited service. The service is accredited by the Family Rights Group. (FRG). The FGC team helps families and their support networks to come together to make a plan to address welfare concerns and to help Children stay within their family networks if at all possible. The FGC service has no influence or involvement with social work decision making and is focused on helping families to make their own plans and decisions when there are concerns about a child’s safety or welfare. The FGC process can take up to 6 weeks from the time of referral to the actual meeting taking place.
The FGC team also assist families to come together at times of crisis via an Emergency Network Meeting to try to safely enable children to remain within their family networks if the Trust is considering action to remove them from the care of parents/carers. This meeting can be set up within 24 hours of referral and be followed up with a full FGC at a later stage.
The child’s case must be open to the trust and must be referred by the child’s social worker.