Site Header & Navigation

About Children Services Hero

About Families & Children’s Services

View all opportunities

About ChildrenServices Block 1

About Families & Children’s Services

Our families and children's services are dedicated to making sure every child in Wiltshire gets the best possible start in life.

Families and Children are at the centre of everything we do. We are ambitious for them and share a determination to see all Wiltshire families thrive.

We are transforming the way our Families and Children’s services are accessed and delivered. Taking a whole-system approach, we continue to improve the way we work. We promote multi-agency integration, making us more efficient in the delivery of our services and more effective at helping families and children achieve the best outcomes.

As part of our shared practice framework, we empower professionals to maximise the time spent with families, providing early support to prevent escalation, and ensuring that our children thrive in their own communities.

We are driven by a strong culture of learning and a determination to improve the life chances and outcomes of the children we serve.

Our transformational journey continues as we work closely with our partners, businesses and the community to ensure that Wiltshire continues to thrive, so this really is an exciting time to join the Council.


FACT Programme

Wiltshire Council has a strong commitment to working collaboratively and creatively with a wide range of partners; for children and families, this is driven through the multi-agency Families and Children’s Transformation (FACT) programme. The programme is shaped by partnership dialogue and analysis around key shared agendas for improvement and a dynamic and innovative approach is applied to the agreed priority projects.

The FACT Partnership is currently engaged in an intensive ‘proof of concept’ activity to develop, trial, and evaluate new ways of working with a defined cohort of young people/adults who are most vulnerable in the context of Transitional Safeguarding. As a partnership, we strive for change and are looking at how we might achieve this to enable more effective response, earlier intervention approaches, to prevent cases escalating to the point where statutory intervention is needed. 

Dads Matter too

Wiltshire Council is heading up a team that will provide early support and regular catch-ups with dads and men that have a caring role to children under one and may already be dealing with a number of issues. The scheme called Dads Matter Too, will be for those who would benefit from additional support to cope with the pressures and challenges of parenthood and where the child may be subject of a child in need or child protection plan.

The programme will be evaluated by The Institute of Public Care, Oxford Brookes University to measure the success of the programme and the way forward.

Sector improvement leaders

As an authority judged overall ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted, Wiltshire Council has been approved by the Department for Education to join the Sector Led Improvement (SLI) programme as one of the strongest performance Local Authority’s in the country, and one of 19 Sector Led Improvers, to support other LA’s nationally to improve their performance.

Sector-led improvement is about local authorities helping each other to improve their services by working collaboratively, sharing good practice and providing constructive challenge – taking shared responsibility for the performance of the sector both regionally and nationally. 

Since 2016, under the Partners in Practice (PIP) Programme, the strongest performing Local Authorities in the country have provided Sector Led Improvement support to other authorities to improve practice and outcomes for children and families across the children’s social care (CSC) system. 

Award winning teams

We have a achieved a ‘Outstanding’ Ofsted grade and our social workers received national recognition in 2020 for their outstanding dedication and commitment to children and families.

The National Children and Young People's Awards

The National Children and Young People's Awards

Support and Safeguarding Team (South) won The Safeguarding of Children Award in recognition of their hard work with families during Operation Meteor.

Kate Farrar was commended for The Children’s Champion for her work with Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children.

Pier Pritchard was nominated for her long service to social work and Kelly Hogan for her child protection social work.

Educational partnerships

Wiltshire Council and multi-agency partners have been working with Professor Carlene Firmin and her team at the University of Bedfordshire and Durham University to develop a new approach to safeguarding adolescents at risk of harm outside of their home.

  • Wiltshire are one of five original national sites to have successfully bid to be part of this scale up project, building on the initial work started in Hackney when the approach was first being tested.
  • In the last three years Wiltshire has been at the forefront of innovative systemic and practice change as we develop our contextual safeguarding approach.
  • This includes being the first Local Authority area to pilot a 5th category of harm, Risk Outside the Home (ROTH), supported by the Department for Education as part of redesigning our Child Protection process for children, families and communities affected by issues such as criminal and sexual exploitation.

Wiltshire Social Workers have also been testing creative approaches to welfare led assessments and interventions in contexts, such as neighbourhood and peer groups where young people may be at risk.

We are excited to have been invited to continue partnering with the Contextual Safeguarding team for the next stage of their research, which is due to start in July 2022. Along with exploring how schools are a site of safety or harm for young people, we will also be part of a workstream which aims to identify the legal and policy scaffold for embedding contextual approaches in UK child protection systems. This workstream will be led by Professor Firmin and the test work will inform the development of new statutory guidance on extra-familial harm.

Schools praise benefits of pioneering scheme to help safeguard Wiltshire children - Wiltshire Council

Families and Children’s team information

Here we focus on what is right for the child, how can we keep that child and young person safe. This is done through good multi-agency links, through teams that support families starting with our support service, right through to entering the court arena and supporting children to be moved to a place of safety. Our key agencies are the Children’s centres, Police, educational setting’s, CAMHS, Youth Offending Teams, local food banks and young carers. We work hard to keep children with their families, where research shows they get the best outcomes. When children need to enter the care system, all efforts are made to maintain family links.

By working in teams from support level, through to a Child in Need and then the statutory Child Protection categories, it means that children stay within our teams, with workers and managers who know and understand these families, even when there has to be a change of staff. Our social worker and family key workers use a variety of methods, from the traditional worksheets, through to games, both indoor and outside and using a mix of both home and school working.

Children’s voices are important to us. We use the Mind of My Own app widely. This means that our children’s voices are heard, both through them using on their own and through working sitting alongside them to ensure they are a part of all key meetings and involved in assessments.

Being child centred means that we are more than just paperwork, we make sure we get to know each child individually and ensure their voice is central to all our work.

In our Kinship & Fostering team rarely are days the same, due to the variety of specific services and schemes we provide. Our work includes marketing, recruiting, assessing, training, supervising and supporting a wide range of carers, guardians and children. We are a large team, made up of a range of different roles; managers, social workers, support workers, administrators, recruitment support workers, comms and a training and development co-ordinator. We also have two placement therapists linked to our team.

Now is a good time to join us, as we continue to roll out Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) to our staff and carers, as our preferred model of trauma informed practice. We continue to deliver our Fostering Excellence transformational programme, and planning further developments around practice reflection groups and peer support. These exciting developments would put you in a unique position of being able to help us further shape and influence our practice.

Making supportive long term relationships that really matter is a key part of what we do, as this enables us to help our children feel safe and well cared for, in turn allowing them a space to overcome past trauma. If you have the relevant skills and experience we look forward to you joining us on our journey?

Wiltshire Youth Offending Team (YOT) where the child comes first. We work to prevent children and young people under 18 from offending and reoffending . In doing so we aim to provide a multi-agency assessment and a child focused plan for all young people in Wiltshire who are on a periphery of offending, at risk of criminal exploitation and those who are subject to out of court disposals and statutory court orders.

The YOT offers a range of interventions to support young people and their parents and our team of practitioners are encouraged to utilise their outside of work experiences and hobbies to offer positive activities under trauma informed practice framework. Current examples include gym and fitness, DJ-ing and football and we provide a range of group work and mentoring support for young people, often working with the local voluntary sector and youth services .

We are an established multi-agency team, with a range of seconded professionals from partner agencies including; Probation, Police , Speech and Language therapist, Specialist Nurse), CAMHS, Educational Department ( Education Welfare officer) ,and a Victim liaison officer.

In 2021, the team received a AYM Quality Lead mark status and we have been congratulated and recognised by Wiltshire Area Partnership on achieving a Youth Justice SEND Quality award.

The staff group are trained and experienced in contextual safeguarding approaches and have close working relationships with our exploitation social work and edge of care support services.

The Integrated Front Door (IFD) was created in 2019, as part of the ongoing programme to transform the way our families and children’s services are accessed and delivered. The IFD consists of the Multi Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH), the Early Support Hub (ESH) and the Out of Hours service which provides a central point of contact for public and professionals for children's safeguarding concerns, 24hr a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

We are a co-located team of professionals from the core agencies of children's social care, including police and community health services. We utilise agreed processes for analysing and assessing risk, based on the fullest information known across agencies, to determine if the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. Where appropriate we provide early support to prevent escalation and ensuring that our children thrive in their own communities, without the need for statutory interventions.

We have developed strong and respectful relationships with our internal teams and partner agencies, supporting our analysis and assessment of risk, based on the fullest information known across agencies, to determine if the child is suffering or likely to suffer significant harm. We also maintain a confidential record system of activity and disseminate suitable information to the area teams in children's social care or other agencies for action.

We are an experienced and supportive group of professionals, who share a common desire and determination to provide robust safeguarding decision making for vulnerable children, young people and their families. We work hard to improve the life chances and outcomes of the children we serve. There are a number of roles and responsibilities within the IFD which comprise of different specialisms. The Early Support workers come with a background of experience in early help and knowledge of local services. Information Officers are the first point of contact, and have excellent communication skills, providing information, signposting and support to people accessing the IFD.

Integrated responsibilities in the service offers opportunities to work across the MASH and OOH’s teams. Whilst the work can be demanding, this offers Social Workers and Managers the opportunity to undertake direct and front facing work with children, young people, families and carers, without the responsibility of managing a caseload. This is well balanced with opportunities to utilise their analytical and risk assessment skills by completing MASH assessments. Staff feel this structure offers a great work life balance and provides them an opportunity to maintain their practice skills and experience, and support career and CPD development.

A creative and responsive authority; Wiltshire’s Children in Care service collectively across North and South have supported Wiltshire’s young people though the pandemic though community giving at Christmas with our gift Amazon voucher campaign and also through the Covid 19 response fund. Such response and support to our care experienced young people has not only been noted locally with our excellent partner links with the wider community but also nationally with a welcomed visit from the National Adviser for Care leavers Mark Ridell focused on our Care leaver promise where our passion, determination and ambition was highlighted. This journey runs right from social worker to Personal Advisor with close working relationships being embedded across both teams to aid positive transitions as our young people move through to adulthood.

Children in Care team (North) is a long-standing established team that prides its self on its ‘stickability’ with young people from the point of coming into our team as a looked after child and beyond as a care experienced young person working with them up until to the age of 25 if required. Passion at the heart of our practice we are also the specialist unaccompanied asylum-seeking team supporting displaced children who arrive spontaneously into Wiltshire along with supporting coastal authorities with the refugee crisis via the National Transfer Scheme. The staff group are trained in both the cultural aspects of supporting unaccompanied asylum-seeking young people through specialist training such as age assessments and also specific cultural awareness training as required.

The notion of family ethos and being part of a one council approach is not only for our young people but also staff who have excellent peer support, motivation and recognition of positive home work life balance with a supportive management structure from Team manager to chief executive evident.