This page is targeted at housing professionals. Our main site is at www.shelter.org.uk

Family intervention projects

This content applies to England

The role of family intervention projects.

Family intervention projects aim to address and change the behaviour of families that have been involved in antisocial behaviour. The projects can help families achieve a level of stability, prevent homelessness and improve opportunities for children. They provide intensive support in order to achieve this, alongside enforcement in order that they provide children with the incentive to change.

Each project varies as regards the services they provide. However, they do share the key features set out below:

  • key workers - their role is to manage or 'grip' the family's problems, co-ordinate the delivery of services and using a combination of support and sanction to motivate the family to change their behaviour. If families start to disengage, services are stepped up and the key worker will work harder to re-engage with the family
  • contract - this is drawn up between the family and key worker. It contains the changes that are expected from the family, the support that will be offered in order to achieve it, and potential consequences should changes not occur, or set tasks not be undertaken
  • sanctions - the use of sanctions provide motivation for families to change. Demoting tenancies or gaining possession orders suspended on the basis of compliance with the projects or, for some, the very real prospect of children being taken into care, can provide the wake up call to take the help on offer
  • parenting skills - improving parenting skills is always a critical service; many children in existing projects are on the child protection register and the majority are seen as being 'in need'. There is strong evidence that parenting programmes can improve parenting skills and have lasting effects in reducing bad behaviour, even in cases where parents are initially reluctant to accept help.

Local authorities can provide further information on projects operating in their area.

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