Expansion of support for vulnerable families

A programme to deliver intensive support to families with complex needs has been established in the Western Bay area covering Bridgend, Neath Port Talbot and Swansea local authorities and Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board.

Integrated Family Support Services aim to keep families together by helping them to take positive steps to change and improve their lives. There are indications that it is already making a real difference to children and families in Wales where the impact of parental substance misuse is felt. 

The new service in Western Bay is part of the roll-out of IFSS across Wales by 2014, ensuring equitable and timely access to the service for some of the country’s most vulnerable children and families.

It completes the third phase of roll-out of the programme and brings coverage of the service to 13 local authority areas, working in partnership with their respective local health boards. Further expansion is planned for later this year (under phase four) with the addition of teams in North Wales and Gwent. 

The service is part of the Welsh Government’s vision for sustainable social services in Wales and is an example of the kind of partnership work enshrined in the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Bill which was laid before the National Assembly for Wales earlier this week.

IFSS places greater accountability and shared responsibility on children and adult services and promotes more effective joint working between heath and social services to support the family as a unit.

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Health and Social Services: 

“Substance misuse destroys families and it is often the children who bear the brunt of its consequences. If we are to break the cycle of disadvantage that blights these families, over several generations in some cases, our approach must be to adapt our workforce and integrate our services so that parents are given the support to care for their children and also better care for themselves.

“Local Authorities and Local Health Boards are continuing to embrace IFSS and I am pleased to see the forging of such strong partnerships to successfully introduce this new way of working across Wales to better support our communities.”