Circle’s former East Lothian PSP has now joined forces with East Lothian Council to develop a vibrant new service for families. The project, now known as East Lothian Intensive Family Support Service (IFSS), continues to work with some of the most hard to reach families in East Lothian. The families are engaged in intensive family support for up to 12 weeks, with the opportunity to extend the work if the family are in need of additional support. Referrals are encouraged from a range of services and organisations, including Health, Education and Social Work.

The 12 week intervention is a well-structured model in order to obtain the optimum impact and outcomes for the family. This is also balanced with the need to avoid the family becoming dependent on the work or the worker. The family are clear from the start about the purpose and intensity of the intervention proposed. They are also made aware at this point that the piece of work is time limited and is a model to ‘kick start’ the process of change. From the beginning the workers talk about the importance of setting goals (outcomes) within a work plan, in order to keep the piece of work focused and achievable within the 12 weeks. This also allows a focus on the ending, where other agencies and means of support can be identified and put in place in a time managed, person-centred way.

Each piece of work is tailored to the needs of families and individuals, and this is guided by an assessment and observation period. Work can be anything ranging from initiating positive bedtime routines to helping families become part of the wider community by attending group and support services they may have been unable to access prior to support from the IFSS.

This service in East Lothian has been positively welcomed by a range of supporters and feedback from families is positive.