Family Support Meetings

Arranging a Virtual Family Support Meeting

When organising a family support meeting, Case Coordinators should consider the below.

Family

  • 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 convientient 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.

Practitioners

  • 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

  • Welcome everyone; and
  • offer refreshements 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.

Introductions

  • 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 Bloggs, 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 clartify how the meeting will be documented or ask someone in the meeting to talk minutes/notes.

Apologies

  • Those recieved before the meeting and names of those who are absent from the meeting are recored 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 seperately (chair to keep discussioned 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 timscales.

Summing up

  • Clarify each target and person responsible; and
  • double check that family are happy with proposed actions and record comments.