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Intensive family support through prevention and family empowerment in Coventry


Working with the families, the programme makes extensive use of surveys to generate feedback on how successful it is. Let us look at one family as an example, a mum and two teenage daughters. All were drinking heavily and the two daughters were heavy cannabis users. Partly as a result, the mother had serious health problems. The family were seriously in debt and one of the daughters was regularly in prison. Their flat was dirty, cluttered, smelly, unhygienic because of a large family of cats and potentially a fire risk because of their cooking habits. They were in danger of being evicted from their flat, experiencing deteriorating health, and getting into even deeper trouble with the police and courts. The trigger for their change of direction was actually the threat that their cats would be taken away from them. Trivial though this might appear, it shocked them so deeply  that they asked seriously what they needed to do to rescue the situation – and then they paid attention. Multi-agency meetings were set up by their key worker. Each of the women helped to draw up a personal plan for themselves, along with the whole support team, including all the relevant agencies. And they largely kept to these plans, helping to reshape them as they took more control of their lives.

The graph below shows how one of the women evaluated the contribution of different parts of the programme to their change of life style. (This shows that the ‘cats protection activity was particularly important to this family, and it’s clear that this part of the programme was real painful for them). 

And what were the results for this family from going through the programme? Some quotes from the family illustrate the massive changes achieved. The mother said: “I never went out before, my life was drinking from morning to evening, I would often fall over and hurt myself and was beginning to get really worried about my health … My life is more positive now and I’m able to go out now and feel much better in myself”. One of the daughters said: “No hospital admissions since 2012, self-harm reduced, and medication stable. College has helped me to focus in life, still have a long way to go. I know I have to cut down on my cannabis and alcohol, and I’m getting the support to do this. Having my own flat has helped to have a ‘meaning’ to life, I am so proud and keep it really clean”.

To give a visual dimension to this change, the ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos below demonstrate the improved outcomes achieved in their flat. 

The Outcomes of Phase 1 of the programme on families is as follows:

632 families have children with improved attendance and behaviour at school, 334 families have committed at least 60% less anti-social behaviour, and youth offending has decreased by at least 33% in 76 families.  Additionally, 31 families have seen at least 1 adult move off out of work benefits and into continuous employment, while another 37 achieved the ‘progress to work’ outcome by voluntarily accessing the work programme or European Social Fund Support for Families project. 

About this case study
Main Contact

Louison Ricketts

Intensive Family Support Team, Coventry City Council

Email: Louison.Ricketts@

This case study was written by Louison Ricketts and Tony Bovaird in September 2015.

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