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Family time in a safe space

17 December 2021

A permanent team of family support workers has been recruited as part of strengthening the Family Support Services to give vulnerable children and families a safe space together.

Six family rooms were opened by the Family Intervention Service in October, in memory of Tracey Najib, a family support worker who lost her battle with cancer in May. Tracey worked hard to advocate for the creation of family rooms within the service.

From the 4 January, the Family Intervention Service will have a dedicated team of 17 family support workers and one social worker.  The service is part of Children's Social Care, at the Department of Children, Young People, Education and Skills (CYPES).

The rooms include a parenting suite with a playroom and kitchen, where parents can be supported to care for their children and learn to cook nutritious meals. There is also a nursery for parents to spend time with babies and younger children while being supported by family support workers with bathing, changing, and feeding.

The family rooms were among the recommendations from the two-year review report by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, published in 2019.

The Minister for Children and Education, Deputy Scott Wickenden, said: "During the Inquiry's two-year review, rooms for family contact were described as cupboards. I am so proud of the team at Children's Social Care Services for responding to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry in turning these rooms and office space into a family environment and ensuring that children have been involved and at the heart of planning these new rooms.

"It is fantastic that we are growing our resources to support vulnerable families in Jersey. Although there is still some way to go, the family rooms and the life-changing work by a new permanent team in the Family Intervention Service is an example of how far we've come. A stable and reliable workforce is fundamental to delivering practice standards and quality services."

The family support workers run the rooms as part of the Family Intervention Service (FIS), which works closely with children in care and their families, from providing tailored support to parents, to working with schools and other agencies to improve the welfare of children aged 0 to 18. The FIS work seven days a week and offer out of hours support.

The Service Development Manager for Family Intervention Service, Patroneller Ndhlalambi, said: "The rooms allow children to come into a safe space where they can play and be involved in their care, with their families. This aspect of our services means that positive interactions between children and families can happen. We also support parents to learn to parent, from helping them bathe their baby to working with them on putting together a healthy meal plan.

"Our family support workers support families to achieve positive and sustained change by working with the whole family, ensuring they have swift access to the right help at the right time."

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