Family Support Meetings
Arranging a Virtual Family Support Meeting
When organising a family support meeting, Case Coordinators should consider the below.
- Confirm with the family that they are comfortable using Microsoft Teams/Zoom/Skype and that they have access to a device to use;
- see if the child/young person would like to attend the meeting;
- see if parents/carers would like someone to be with them, or if they could attend a virtual meeting within school or community setting (when permitted);
- check what time is convenient for the family so they can engage fully in the meeting;
- make sure you tell the parents/carers how the meeting will flow so they know what to expect;
- if there are any communication issues or language barriers consider how you might overcome these;
- discuss any practical issues – where do they want to sit, would they like to bring someone to support them, would they like to take a break, time constraints, when would they like to speak?
- reassure the parent that this meeting is to bring together agencies to get the right service in the right place at the right time;
- ask the family if there are any additional issues that they wish to discuss during the meeting; and
- if online meetings are new to the family consider having a practice run with them so they feel more comfortable.
- Ensure you have the email addresses of all those who need to attend the meeting;
- send out calendar invites via email/outlook first and then arrange a meeting on your online platform, don't forget to send the link to everyone;
- clarify the purpose of the meeting and ensure that those invited/attending are able to contribute; and
- ensure that all those who cannot attend send information or updates on their actions.
Hosting a Family Support Meeting
- Welcome everyone; and
- offer refreshments if available.
Share the aims of the meeting
- Focus on the needs of the child and what life is like for them; and
- keep focussed on this common goal and work together to put a supportive plan in place.
- Chair introduces themselves first telling everyone their name and role;
- everyone else should then be invited to introduce themselves stating their name and role in the meeting i.e. Joe Smith, father or Jane Dough, support worker;
- place emphasis on the confidentiality statement and who the information from this meeting will be shared with; and
- chair should also clarify how the meeting will be documented or ask someone in the meeting to talk minutes/notes.
- Those received before the meeting and names of those who are absent from the meeting are recorded in the minutes/notes.
What is working well for the family
- Start the meeting on a positive note by focussing on what is working well at home for the child and parents/carers at the moment;
- what improvements have the family notices since the last family support meeting or since the last assessment?
- What improvements have been noticed by professionals?
Issues to address
- If this is the first family support meeting, the issues to address are actions outlined within the Early Help Assessment Action Plan;
- if this is the second or subsequent family support meeting this time is used to review previous actions and progress, as well as identifying new areas of concern;
- update any changes since the last meeting starting with the family; and
- circulate reports/information from absent agencies.
Review key targets from the plan
- Each item to be addressed separately (chair to keep discussion focussed);
- family views should be sought on each item; and
- chair to seek details from each service on what support they can offer, what assessment tool is being used and what timescales they are working to.
Agree needs and actions
- Lead practitioners/minute taker to ensure that agreed actions are recorded on the action plan and review as the meeting progresses; and
- clearly record what action is going to be taken, by which agency/family member and timescales.
- Clarify each target and person responsible; and
- double check that family are happy with proposed actions and record comments.