Why digital communities aid effective SEND intervention
The idealised nuclear family is a foreign concept for many across the UK – and a mere blip in terms of human history. Despite mainstream media portraying what families ought to look like, there is rarely a discussion about the reality of managing the complexities of family life – leaving a vacuum for vulnerability and struggle for many households. With the poverty rates amongst UK working households at an all-time high, it’s essential that we look to find the best tools to fix the holes in the social safety net.
There is a clear opportunity to engage an entire community of people and decision-makers who all have the same intention – to protect those most vulnerable in society. But, to mobilise a community of stakeholders and account for all the aspects of social care to reach an effective outcome is no easy task.
In this blog, we will examine the role of family networks and technology in social care and suggest the best ways for organisations to ensure positive outcomes for those facing adversity.
Tapping into the network
Families rely, to a greater or lesser extent, on formal and informal networks of friends, family, professionals and service providers. These networks form the sentimental notion of what we all know as ‘home’, which is why local authorities prioritise keeping families together, avoiding up-rooting support units so they are not miles apart.
The work of social care professionals is essential for spotting the early indications that families are having a challenging time. For example, an old friend might not join the dots of an empty fridge or a cold house displaying signs of struggle. However, a social worker is trained to read between the lines and understand the link between hygiene, health and financial wellbeing – and act as a gatekeeper for care. It’s therefore crucial that carers are enabled to support communities by wielding the necessary tools and insight to step in when they are most needed, at the right time.
Ensuring early intervention
In the ideal working model, through multi-agency intervention, a form of community is created to address often multiple, interconnected and escalating family challenges. Social care professionals become part of the family’s main support system working seamlessly with colleagues from health, housing, education, social security and other departments to all deliver preventative solutions.
In reality, often the more bodies involved, the more opportunities for details to slip through the gaps. For instance, a family may be visited by a health professional, social worker and housing officer – all who make notes to different agencies and systems – which never align, despite overwhelming evidence that the family needs help. This can be detrimental and lead to avoidable outcomes – as the window for early intervention quickly diminishes. Early intervention relies on a connected suite of knowledge, which can help inform life-changing decisions.
The role of technology
Local authorities and social care organisations need a way to have a panoramic view of families and their cases. An effective multi-agency approach whereby stakeholders can view the assessments of others ensuring that a comprehensive profile can be built, simplifying and progressing case management so vulnerable families can get the support they need quickly.
At Idox, we’ve identified an opportunity to connect the dots and use our innovative technology to ensure that no-one falls through the gaps. Unlike back-office local authority systems which are not compatible or flexible enough to cope with demand, our technology not only stores all the content relating to a case in line with regulations, but it is accessible for stakeholders in multi-disciplinary cases. The adaptability of the technology means that non-linear cases can often reach an outcome in a simplified but effective way – crucially putting the family first.
Families come first
Putting the family at the centre of their own case should be the focus now. Often in a multi-agency approach, the role of the family is overlooked. However, to reach the best and least traumatic outcome they should be informed of case progression and not be required to repeat their stories.
Our technology ensures that they have access to timelines and referrals so they can manage their own next steps. It doesn’t stop there, though. As it’s accessible through standard mobile devices, families can access their case from anywhere – which means they can always be kept in the loop, further enhancing the chances of achieving the desired outcomes and preventing escalation.
With social care finding itself under increasing pressures, our technology can offer a cost and time saving solution. Whilst it cannot replace the importance of community and family networks, it can assist social workers to make the best decisions case-by-case, aid early intervention and put the family first – in an effective, seamless and caring way – adding value to all.