Between Early Prevention and Statutory Intervention: Meeting the Needs for Targeted Support for Children and Families

Geoffrey Meads, Kathleen Butler


The subject is services for vulnerable children aged up to fourteen years and their families in the Winchester area of southern England. The services comprise three group-work based programmes, each lasting for twelve months. Their review comprised a two stage study designed to scope future objectives for a host charity in its development alongside faith agencies. The first stage used a Delphi process to define the principal priorities of trustees. These were then rated and applied to a follow up client satisfaction survey across the three programmes for 40 families. The overall 55% rate indicated a positive response from service users with a multi-dimensional approach to resilience building strongly endorsed. However, the analysis also scoped three areas for improvement. Findings indicated first, that the significance of help with preparation for work and education is understated by trustees less familiar with employment shortfalls; secondly that family focused services should recognize the particular needs of fathers and not be slanted towards mothers and their children; and thirdly, decisions on social enterprise status must take into account potential disconnects between the values of service recipients and those of different socio-economic means in governance roles. These findings are relevant to comparable voluntary sector agencies.

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