Me My Family My Home is ambitious. It seeks to make significant improvements to the lives and support received by children, young people and their families, moving to a single 'whole life, whole family' approach.
Funded by the Department for Education, the project focused its energies on supporting six local authorities and their partners to develop new support packages for children and young people with complex needs and complicated home lives. This group included: children and young people in the care of the local authority,
- those receiving high cost and fully funded support from health;
- young children where there was an understanding that if things weren't tackled early on that everyone was concerned about the longer term;
- and children and young people placed away from home due to child protection concerns.
The project set out to redesign support starting back at the beginning by supporting children, young people and families to share their life experiences and experiences of support to date, then, using this work starting to design a new plan of support which centred on thinking whole life and whole family. For many of those involved this centred on the local approach to EHC plans, however for some it centred on the LAC process and thinking differently about the support offered to the child, young person and those closest to them.
It has been a year of incredibly hard work on the part of many in the six areas; some of it producing great results for children and families and at other times creating a great deal of frustration with systems and processes that deflect the energy of people away from centring on what will work best for the child, young person and/or family.
The report available sets out the work, the learning and key recommendations to getting started on tackling support for those in the most complicated of situations. We explain a very simple way of understanding how things need to fit together, 'A Framework for Keeping it Simple', and include an interview with one of the forerunners of this approach, Jenny Dalby from Middlesbrough.
The project has started to make significant improvements for children and those who care and love them, but there is a long way to go and quite a bit of hard work to make lasting change; there is nothing in legislation that makes this approach not applicable in any number of situations so as we say, it's really a case of 'just getting on and doing it'.
The report is downloadable as a printed version, however the online version enables you to click on links signposted with the audio icon and listen to the reflections and learning for many of those involved. When you click on the audio icon it will take you to a 'Soundcloud' page and the audio file will play. To return to the report simply click on 'back' and you will find yourself back at the beginning of the report. We haven't yet worked out how to return to the exact place that you were reading but this means we can include the voices of many involved and we think is an okay if clumsy compromise.
This is really important to us all; the year of work has been taken forward by a whole community of people from families, young people, managers and frontline workers to those at a senior level in NHS England. Please take this chance to listen to the people involved.
To visit the page of audio files on Soundcloud, click here.