March 2014 – June 2014

Research team

Professor Marian Brandon

Dr Penny Sorensen


The London Tri-borough


Families Forward was a newly rebranded service launched to coincide with the development of the wider Tri-borough Family Recovery Project. Families Forward is a multi-disciplinary team working with local families already known to frontline social work teams who have children between the ages of 5 to 18 years. The criteria for the work and the top priorities for the team are to prevent family breakdown and to address any child protection concerns.

The service is personalised, recognising that different families have different needs and require different kinds of interventions. Therefore, families are offered access to a range of different professional skills, experience and resources including, parenting programmes, strategies to address substance misuse, targeted work to address risks associated with sexual exploitation and diversion from crime and anti-social behaviour. Families are also offered the opportunity to spend enjoyable positive time together doing a range of new challenging activities from kayaking and climbing to film making and bicycle maintenance.

One to one work with young people is also undertaken when appropriate and the team provides advice and direction to social workers and collaborates intensively with the professional networks around the family.

Aims and methods

The study aimed to provide a review of the Families Forward team based on brief observation of team working, examination of workers’ practice, interviews with 10 families and examination of interagency working in relation to two of the 10 families interviewed with professionals. The research questions included:

– How is the Families Forward team working?

– What are the team’s strengths and what are the areas for development?

– How are practitioners working with families?

– What other practitioners are working with the family and how does co-working and working on the same case operate?

– What are the practitioners support needs?

– What are practitioners’ perceptions of good practice?

– What are families’ perceptions of good practice?

The review used a qualitative methodology to address the research questions which involved:

– Observation of a team meeting to gain an understanding of the team and its work

– Developmental workshop with the practitioners to gain more detail about the cases, the workers’ practice and to identify families willing to be interviewed

– Interviews with 10 families

– Interviews with professionals in the Team Around the Family

To read the findings of the review you can click here – Review of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea Families Forward Service.