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Targeted Support - Children's Services

Targeted Support works with children, young people and families in Plymouth.

We help in a number of ways, ranging from advice and guidance to a more structured package of support; ensuring families receive the services they need to remain safe and be successful members of their communities.

There are a number of different teams within Targeted Support including:

  • Early Help, Advice and Support Team (EHAST)
  • Intervention Team
  • Family Intervention Project (FIP)
  • Adolescent Support Team (AST)
  • Family and Community Solutions

The service also runs a number of different group programmes to address issues such as domestic abuse and managing children's behaviour.  Please click on the groups below for more information:

  • Freedom Programme
  • Assert Yourself
  • Perpetrator Programme
  • Take 3

Early Help Advice and Support Team (EHAST)

Providing advice, guidance and practical support to families and partner agencies with focus on Early Help Assessment (EHATs) and whole family early help provision below a statutory threshold.  This team will deliver:

  • Advice and support to families and the partnership regarding initiating and undertaking Early Help Assessments T(EHAT)/ taking a whole-family approach to assessments and planning interventions to sustain change.
  • Short-term work to engage families and negotiate support within the partnership.
  • Return Home Interviews for children who have had a missing episode.
  • Prevention of missing episodes and reducing the risk of child exploitation for children below a statutory threshold.
  • Response to the 16/17-year olds at risk of, or already homeless

Early Help

Support families and partnership settings by promoting:

  • Whole family working, strength-based approach
  • Ensuring families are at centre of decision making
  • Strong multi-agency collaboration, trauma informed
  • Eligibility
  • Concern for a child needing a multi-agency response
  • Need for advice/support about undertaking EHAT, planning or whole family working
  • Does not met threshold for safeguarding and Children Social Care support


  • Experiencing difficulties moving EHAT process forward
  • Not confident in leading early help process as Lead Professional or chairing EHAT meetings
  • No progress on existing EHATs

For more information please email

Family and Community Solutions - Family Group Conferencing (FGC)

A Family Group Conference (FGC) is a tool for planning and works well as an early intervention. It can also be used in Child in Need, Child Protection and when considering alternative carers for a child. The conference is a decision making meeting in which the child and the child's wider family network makes a plan about the future arrangements for the child, ensuring that the child is safe and his/her well-being is promoted.

FGCs are intended as a respectful and empowering process in which parents; children and members of the wider family are given clear information about the agency's concerns and asked to produce a plan addressing those concerns and answering specific questions to support this. The referring agency may stipulate a 'bottom line' e.g. that they will not endorse a plan where the child lives with a certain person whom they consider presents a risk to the child

The model places the child and family at the centre of the planning process and provides them with an opportunity to have their voices heard in relation to plans made for their child. There should never be a family plan and a different agency plan; just one plan developed in partnership, with family and agencies working together.

It is a consent-based process.

The FGC will only proceed if someone with parental responsibility (PR) agrees to the referral. This verbal consent will need to be obtained by the referrer prior to submitting the referral. The FGC Coordinator will obtain further signed consent from someone with parental responsibility to gather and share information for the purpose of the FGC and to involve the child or young person within the process.

Please note that the processes are voluntary, and consent can be withdrawn at any stage throughout the process.


  • Families who refuse to consent to share information
  • No family identified
  • No safe adult identified within the family network


We are also able to offer mediation between parents, carers, young people and between parents and or family members, promoting the best outcome for their children. Mediation can help young people and their families to work through the difficult issues that they are experiencing, understand the issues causing the breakdown in their relationship or the dispute and then try to find solutions together. Mediation aims to clear up misunderstandings from the past and resolve communication difficulties from the present, promoting healthier relationships.

Mediation is an informal, confidential and voluntary process which involves an independent facilitator (Mediator) helping those in dispute to identify unmet needs, understand each other and to reach agreements that are acceptable to all.

Mediators facilitate the meeting in an independent, neutral, non-judgemental and fair manner, ensuring that everyone is given equal time to talk and be listened to. Our Mediators ensure that the focus of the meeting remains on the needs of the child or young person and moving forward. Everyone's safety is paramount throughout. This service can be accessed by families themselves, with verbal consent or referred in by a professional on the family's behalf.


Mediation is available to Plymouth families and can be accessed with your consent, by referral from a professional who is working with you or your children.

Consent is required for all involved and can be withdrawn at any time

Limitations - we do not offer the following:

  • Family Mediation - separation, divorce, finance or anything rights based
  • MIAMs meetings - (mediation, information and assessment meetings)
  • C100 Forms or court papers
  • Minimum age of 12

For more information please email

Intervention Team

The Intervention Team work with children, young people and their families, who are open to Children's Social Care, in a planned targeted way which is reflective of the child's plan. They also work within a duty/crisis way, working with complex and vulnerable young people and families. Work undertaken by the team will focus on reducing risks, improving outcomes for children, improving relationships; empowering individuals and families in making changes to their lives and making informed decisions about their behaviour and circumstances. Work with the young person and family will be relationship based placing the child/young person at the centre of the intervention.

Work with young people and families comprises of direct work and assessment-based interventions. As a team our work will contribute to the social work assessments and their overall decision making; our work is not completed in isolation.

Examples of Assessments

Family Management Skills Assessment (FMSA)

  • This is an evidence based assessment tool enabling a bench mark to be set; establishing parents' level of understanding, assess their ability in targeted areas and provide evidence of their capacity to sustain a parenting role; ascertaining parent's strengths and difficulties. The information is gathered using both interviews and observations during home visits. This is a 12-week assessment.

Pre-birth Assessments

  • Family Support Workers will contribute to complex pre-birth assessments which are supported by several checklists enabling a consistent and systematic collection of information about all aspects of the parents, environmental factors and the wider family. Theses checklists are further supported by the Questionnaires and scales from the Framework for the Assessment of Children. Each piece of work is planned in accordance to need and risk. For those pre-birth assessments where the risk is reduced our colleagues in the children's centre (who have been trained by us) will undertake the piece of work.

Direct Work

  • The range of direct work with children, young people and families is vast. Work will take place within the family home, in schools, youth centres and within the community. Keep safe work in terms of sexual abuse, PANTS, risk taking behaviour, domestic abuse and on-line safety etc. will involve sessions with both the child and parent to ensure messages have been shared, understood and retained.

    Work around healthy relationships and domestic abuse focusing on the impact of the child and safety planning is carried out as a short-term piece of work.

    Parenting work is undertaken using the principals of Take 3 and the Incredible Years parenting program; focusing on developing and implementing strategies to manage challenging and aggressive behaviours and a lack of emotional regulation. Work to develop sustainable routines within the home can be undertaken in conjunction with parenting work alongside parents and children. Parents are introduced to the concept of PACE as an effective way of parenting their children. Work with children on a one to one basis if undertaken to explore the lived experiences of the child as well as their wishes and feelings.

Youth Work

  • Youth work intervention is very much person centred and will endeavour to improve outcomes for the young people using a strength based and solution-focused approach. Within any intervention, work will be undertaken with the young person to increase their resilience, their self-esteem, their emotional literacy and improve relationships with peers and family. This is achieved by developing effective and challenging relationships with the young person. All youth workers in the team are highly experienced and we will accept complex referrals concerning suicide, risky relationships, self-harm and risky behaviours; working with those young people who have complex needs.

Crisis Support

  • The team will also respond to crisis situations and unplanned work. These requests are responded to immediately due to the nature of the requests.

Children's Centres

  • Children's centre colleagues have been trained by us and are invaluable when supporting families and social workers. Children centres staff will undertake Family Management Skills Assessments, contribute to low risk pre-birth assessments, undertaken parenting work, impact of domestic abuse on children as well as integrate them into their groups and other community resources.

Family Intervention Project

The Family Intervention Project are an intensive family support team who work with family's for around 12 months. To receive a service from us there must be evidence of chaotic behaviour and/or dysfunctional parenting which is having a significant and adverse impact on family life due to:

  • Neglectful parenting
  • Domestic abuse
  • Substance misuse
  • Mental health
  • Worklessness

2 of the following criteria must also met to be eligible for a FIP intervention:

  • Child/ren within the family receiving 3rd Single Assessment
  • Child/ren within the family receiving 2nd Child Protection Plan
  • Reunification of child/ren
  • Family have received FSW intervention more than once previously
  • Not engaging in an educational provision
  • Evidence that family members are involved in serious anti-social behaviour or offending behaviour.

FIP undertake a 4 week assessment initially and then through regularly reviewed targeted work can support families with issues around debt and finances, housing, school attendance, adult education and employment, engaging families in their local communities and with family functioning. Within the team FIP have domestic abuse workers, a DAPP worker, an employment co-ordinator and youth and support workers who undertake 1-2-1 work with individual children. Parenting is a mandatory element of FIP and workers will use Take3, parenting wisely, PACE and often a therapeutic approach to support families in this area.

There is also a new FIP PLO process in place for when intensive support is needed for a family where pre-proceedings has been or is going to be initiated. For these families an intensive package of support from FIP at a time of crisis could be a valuable resource in bringing about positive change; FIP will continue to work with these families, where there is ongoing evidence of meaningful engagement, in the hope that they are able to make the required changes during the pre-proceedings period and avoid entering the Court arena.

Adolescent Support Team (AST)

AST will provide a timely and intensive targeted intervention that is coordinated and focused on the young person and family, reducing risks and improving relationships to support the child/young person remaining/returning to the home.

Support available:

  • An Educational Psychologist seconded to the team for 2 days per week who will lead on the Enhanced Case Management Approach across AST and YOT, as well provide training/ delivery of Video Interactive Guidance (VIG)
  • Child Exploitation specialist support- including joint work and consultation with Barnardo's BASE project.
  • Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB) interventions - staff are trained in AIM 3 Assessments and interventions, and will work alongside NSPCC colleagues
  • Independent living skills
  • Keep Safe work (including drug and alcohol)
  • Parenting support
  • Prevention of offending work, using YOT based tools, e.g. Stop/Think, Knife-based crime awareness, Thinking skills, developing specific contextual safeguarding interventions in conjunction with the Child Centred Policing team.
  • Domestic Abuse/ Healthy relationship focused interventions
  • Video Interactive Guidance (VIG) focused on the attachment between the young person and parent/carer.
  • Access to SALT worker within YOT.
  • Access to direct work from specialist CAMHS worker within YOT.
  • Will support young people with engaging in education, training and wider positive community resources

In line with this vision, the AST will adopt the Trauma Recovery Model as the theoretical underpinning, to inform our interventions with young people and their families.

This is a formal, evaluated practice model, aimed at providing a coherent understanding and structure to support professionals in understanding how best to intervene with young people  and families rather than using a more scatter gun approach based on available programmes.

 The Trauma Recover Model is:

  • relationship-based, recognising the need for time and consistency to build a working relationship.
  • based on an understanding of attachment difficulties, the impact of early life trauma and of ACEs.
  • a theoretical description of levels of presentation/behaviour, identifying underlying need and supporting appropriate intervention at each level and recognises that the work needs to be carried out by the right professional to work with the young person, supported by a wider, team around the child approach.


Young people 10-17 where there is an actual and imminent risk of admission to care or who have recently been admitted into care and where a return home should be pursued. This is likely to include young people with a number of relevant and high-risk ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences) e.g.;

  • Out of education
  • At risk of custody
  • Risk taking behaviours including substance use, self-harm, missing episodes
  • Beyond parental control
  • Domestic abuse
  • Mental health concerns
  • Harmful sexual behaviour  
  • At risk of Child Exploitation
  • Neglect

Freedom Programme

What is it?

  • The Freedom Programme is a free information giving 11-week programme about domestic abuse.
  • Who is it for?
  • The Freedom Programme is open to any woman who wishes to learn more about the dynamics of domestic violence and abuse.

What are its aims?

  • To help women understand the beliefs held by abusive men and in so doing, recognise which of these beliefs they share.
  • To illustrate the effects of domestic violence on children and increase women's ability to recognise what steps they need to take to protect them.
  • To assist women to recognise potential future abusers...Mr. Wrong...or...Mr. Right
  • To increase women's ability to take control of their lives
  • To help women gain self-esteem and the confidence to improve the quality of their lives.
  • To introduce women to community resources such as Women's Aid, the Police Domestic Violence Unit, The Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre, local Colleges etc. and signpost to relevant agencies if desired.

After a referral is received

  • Client will be contacted by telephone during the two weeks prior to start of programme to arrange a risk assessment visit
  • The risk assessment will be kept for the duration of the time the client is accessing the programme
  • A MARAC referral may be made depending on risk assessment
  • Facilitators will keep confidential records during the programme, this information will not be shared with referrers unless agreed with the client
  • Facilitators will share information on how many and which sessions have been attended

What you can expect from us

  • Facilitators are fully trained and DBS checked 
  • Facilitators will be open and honest with clients regarding the programme and refer onto other support if required
  • To keep confidentiality of clients unless we are bound to disclose information according to our protection policies
  • To deal with any issues in a timely and efficient manner

Assert yourself

Assert Yourself! Contains information about communication styles, how they develop; and how they affect our ways of thinking and our beliefs about how we behave as human beings.

We will firstly look at how we have become unassertive; then at what prevents us from being assertive; before measuring our assertiveness in different situations, then looking at ways we can choose to be more assertive in real life

There are ten modules; the concepts and strategies have been developed from evidence based psychological practice, primarily Cognitive-Behaviour Therapy (CBT).

Perpetrator Programme

The 1:1 Perpetrator Programme has been developed by Respect and comprises of 20 Core sessions (to be delivered weekly) with an additional 5 sessions if necessary. The programme aims to: -

  • help men stop being violent and abusive
  • help them learn how to relate to their partners in a respectful and equal way
  • show them non-abusive ways of dealing with difficulties in their relationships and cope with their anger
  • keep their partner safer
  • 1 worker trained to deliver this programme, and this is a 2 year pilot. 

Eligibility Criteria

  • Perpetrator must acknowledge that their behaviours are abusive and be accepting of support.
  • Children must be subject to a Child Protection Plan.
  • IRO and Team Manager must agree to the intervention.
  • Plan in place for victim to have support from an IDVA/ DA worker during this intervention (FIIP can provide DA support)
  • Referral form must be completed

Take 3

Take 3 used to be called "Parent Talk Group". It's a course for mums and dads who find it difficult, sometimes, to manage their children's behaviour.

The course was developed to support parents of "At risk" or "vulnerable" young people (aged between 10 and 18), and whose challenging behaviour is causing problems for their parents and/or in the community.

However, the skills and strategies from the course would be of benefit to anymum or any dad.

What some mums and dads living in Plymouth have said about Take 3

  • "It is a really good course to go on, very enjoyable" "Honestly Take 3 works, it's worth every minute" 
  • "Before this course I was existing but now I'm living my life after putting all these things into practice". "Take 3 was a genuinely good experience". "Good atmosphere" "DO IT!"
  • "I would defo say to people who has problems with their kids to do the Take 3"
  • "Really nervous at first but really enjoyed it and the sessions are brill and do work, even signed up for few more"
  • "Group support. Just having people to talk to that don't judge u"   "I feel empowered as a parent by attending this course even though I have attended other courses"

Take 3 contains loads of information about real life issues faced by mums and dads who have children who behave in challenging ways and suggests ways to help manage these behaviours. 

The course materials can be used 1:1 but work best with a group of parents. 

Take 3 consists of ten core sessions. The sessions focus initially on connecting, communication and listening to young people, as well as considering the importance of consistent parenting.

Take 3 then looks at negotiating boundaries, consequences and offers other practical strategies which help consolidate strong and healthy relationships.

For more information, or to secure a place on the Take 3 parenting course please call 01752 312556

For more information about any of these services, please email

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