Strengthening families

Strengthening Families is an intensive specialist programme.

It is aimed at parents most at risk of their unborn child being removed from their care, and parents who have already been subject to safeguarding procedures, such as where they have previously had a child removed.

Strengthening Families is part of the Early Intervention and Prevention (EIP) Service, which is aimed at pregnant women pre-20 weeks gestation, prior to the Pre-Birth Assessment being undertaken by Children’s Social Care.

Referral criteria and process

Target groups

  • Pregnant women (pre-20 weeks gestation) where there is significant risk of the child being removed under safeguarding procedures, or for whom a pre-birth risk assessment would be considered
  • Parents who have had children previously removed by courts and who are likely to/are considering having another child

All referrals are required pre-20 weeks gestation. Complete the online referral form, stating that the Strengthening Families project is required, and submit via the secure upload system. A completed risk assessment should also accompany the referral. The referral will be directed to the EIP Parenting Team for action. Following completion of the programme a report will be submitted to Social Care to be considered as part of the Pre-Birth Assessment process.

Programme content

Discussion and sessional work regarding:

  • expectations and impact of parenthood
  • impact of lifestyle on child development
  • relationship issues and partner choice
  • future aspirations for self (and child)
  • contraception
  • engagement with other support services to promote change
  • understanding the Pre-Birth Assessment process

Benefits to parents

  • Helps parents provide evidence of consistent engagement with services on a voluntary basis
  • Reduces stress in pregnancy by providing support prior to social work involvement at 20 weeks
  • Informs parents of current guidelines about health in pregnancy and how a child’s development can be impacted on by parental lifestyle choices
  • Reinforces parental responsibility even though baby is unborn
  • Helps parents to reflect on their past experiences and assess what has changed or improved
  • Aids understanding of the Pre-Birth Assessment process
  • Assistance and support given with other issues such as housing and benefits
  • Automatic referral to Baby Incredible Years course following birth of child
  • Additional support provided through a named family support worker and offer of a funded day care place

Who to contact

To discuss the suitability of a referral prior to completing paperwork please contact Joe Garraway, Parenting Expert Practitioner on 0161 793 3403 or email

Downloadable documents

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