The ‘Families First’ programme is a key response to the Welsh Government’s Child Poverty Strategy and will be rolled out across Wales from April 2012. It promotes the development of effective multi-agency systems and support for families, particularly those living in poverty.
Families need different levels of support depending on their circumstances. Complicated problems will need more intensive support. However, some families may need help to overcome smaller problems to avoid them becoming complicated.
Supporting a family often involves many different teams and services. The Welsh Government wants to ensure that these services work together so the family is well supported.
Families First aims to develop a seamless support service for families alongside other programmes, including Flying Start, Communities First and the Integrated Family Support Service. The Welsh Government previously announced five Families First pioneer areas currently operating Families First.
The Deputy Minister, Gwenda Thomas, has written to the leaders of each of the 22 councils, asking them to work with the Welsh Government in delivering the objectives for children and families over the next five years.
In her letter, she said:
“Our manifesto reaffirmed our commitment to eradicate child poverty and our objectives to help families into work, improve skills and narrow the gaps in outcomes for children living in poverty, which remain central to all that we do.”
The Families First Programme Guidance will help prepare local authorities for the 2012 roll-out. They will work with local health boards, and other partners, to develop plans tailored to local needs, contributing to the national programme outcomes.
Gwenda Thomas added:
“During the last Assembly term, the Welsh Government laid the foundations of an integrated approach to deliver for families and their children. I see my new role as an opportunity to join up all our services for children, from the universal to the specialist.”