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Family by Family feature in Children’s Care Review

Our pilot family peer mentoring programme, Family by Family, which we started in April 2021 in Stoke-on-Trent, is featured in the recently published Independent Review of Children’s Care as an example of family help and supporting communities effectively with ‘loving relationships that hold the solutions for children and families overcoming adversity.’

Family by Family is a partnership programme, supported by Stoke-on-Trent Council, TACSI and the Department for Education Opportunity Area.

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Jayne Wilson, director of development and interim CEO says, “We welcome the Children’s Care review which highlights so many of the core values at the heart of our work and what we hear from families we support and young people who are leaving care.

Our Family by Family service in Stoke-on-Trent and Shared Lives care services know that putting loving, stable and supportive relationships at the centre of the mutual matching process; between people wanting support and those giving it; they empower children, young people and adults to flourish and grow in confidence. Supporting genuine and natural relationships enables children, families and young people to benefit from wider family and community networks, significantly increasing mental and physical health, and a stable foundation for a more hopeful future.

We are delighted that so many people who experience children’s services have been involved in the review and look forward to government making many of its recommendations a reality for thousands of families, children and young people.”

The report goes on to highlight that, “Peer-to-peer support often has the added bonus of being non-judgemental. Working with someone who is ‘like you’
and who may have faced similar problems brings down a lot of barriers for families who may feel scared of accessing help from the state.”

Family by Family in Stoke-on-Trent is now supporting 35 families. Feedback has been very positive, with families saying:

  • “Something like this would have been great after I had my daughter at a young age as I lost most of my friends, its good to have other people as well as your family for support” Mum at sharing dinner
  • “I love our time together; I’ve only known you a short time but feel like I’ve known you forever and I’m so glad I’ve met you. You’re amazing and you don’t realise what you’ve done for me already. Since I’ve met you, I feel like I can conquer anything with you by my side. I knew as soon as Wendy spoke about you that I wanted you as my link up”  Jess -seeking family about her sharing family, Abi
  • “Nafeesa’s family have really benefitted from the link up but so has mine, my children are learning so much and the change in Abbiah’s behaviour has been noticed” Tahira
  • “I would just like to have somebody that I can talk to and not feel so alone” Chloe, new seeking family
  • “Being able to come along to meetings makes me really feel a part of the team. It’s great to know that I am supporting and inspiring others.” Abi

Family by Family is looking to secure funding for the next phase of its pilot work in Stoke-on-Trent. If you’re interested in supporting the pilot, or learning about how to set up asset based community support for families, please contact carly.attridge@sharedlivesplus.org.uk.

Find out more about the Independent Children’s Care Review