Keeping families at the hub of the community

THE Southern Health and Social Care Trust has developed a new way to support vulnerable families and children.

As part of the Trust’s Family Support Strategy and complementing the Trust in the Community initiative, three new Family Support Hubs have been launched across the area.

The Hubs are a virtual network of community, voluntary and statutory organisations which work together to provide early intervention for families, preventing the need for referral to statutory social work services.

Referrals can be made to the Hubs with parental consent by any agency or professional who believes that the family would benefit from preventative support.

Paul Morgan, Director of Children and Young People’s Services for the Southern Trust explains: “We receive almost 12,000 child care referrals to our Social Work Gateway Service each year. While many of these families need long term social work intervention, around half of cases we assess are forwarded to other agencies for family support services.

“In line with ‘Transforming Your Care’, Hubs are designed to help us match families to the right services much more quickly and effectively. They aim to help families who do not meet the threshold for statutory social work involvement but who could benefit from some short term advice and support.

“This allows Social Work teams to focus on families who do need this expertise and ensures that everyone receives the best service for their needs much more quickly.”

The Hubs are based in Armagh, Lurgan and Newry and will meet monthly to discuss referrals. For further information or to make a referral contact :

Colm McCafferty, Head of Family Support and Safeguarding on 028 3752 0605 or email: colm.mccafferty@southerntrust.hscni.net