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Working with families to lessen impact of poverty
Funding for the Families First programme was announced at a national event in the Park Inn, Cardiff. It includes £3 million for projects with a focus on disability.
Families First is delivered by local authorities in response to locally identified needs, with services and projects targeting families threatened or affected by poverty.
The best way of supporting children, particularly those living in poverty, is by working with the whole family. Evidence suggests early intervention and support can reduce the likelihood of families developing more complicated and costly needs.
Families need different levels of support depending on their circumstances. Complicated problems will need more intensive support. However, some families will need help to overcome smaller problems to avoid them becoming more serious.
Supporting a family often involves many different teams and services. These services need to work well together so families are confident, nurturing, and resilient. This involves a “team around the family” approach that brings agencies and services together in a co-ordinated way, making it less complex for families to access the support they need.
Families First aims to:
help working age people in low income families gain, and progress within employment;
encourage children, young people and families, in/ at risk of poverty, to achieve their potential;
and ensure children, young people and families are healthy and safe.
We will continue to focus on the early years through programmes like Flying Start and the Foundation Phase, which are both funded by Welsh Government and in the case of Flying Start has received a significant increase in funding. The key difference is that Families First extends support to all age groups.
The Deputy Minister said:
“Without change in the way we operate we will not have a long-lasting impact on families living in poverty. Our Tackling Poverty action plan prioritises the needs of the poorest and protects those most at risk of poverty and exclusion.
“Families First focuses on early and appropriate intervention for children and families to help build the resilience at difficult times.
“We are already seeing the rewards. The emerging ‘team around the family’ approach is offering some very encouraging early signs for families feeling the impact of these tough economic times.
“Through multi-agency cooperation and the delivery of innovative services, we hope to improve the lives of families sooner to prevent more complex issues arising.”