17F Integrated family support teams
Part 3 of the Children and Families (Wales) Measure 2010 (ss.57–65) provides for the establishment and functions of integrated family support teams and boards in Wales. Part 3 is in force throughout Wales except for Anglesey, Gwynedd, Conwy and Denbighshire.
A local authority in the areas specified must establish one or more integrated family support (“IFS”) teams and two or more local authorities acting together may establish one or more IFS teams for both (or all) their areas. A local health board must participate in the establishment of an IFS team for its area and assist the discharge by a local authority of its functions under Part 3 of the Measure (s.57). An integrated family support team must carry out the family support functions assigned to it by the local authority with the consent of each Local Health Board that relates to the team (s.58(1)). Family support functions are (s.58(2))
(a) prescribed social service functions (within the meaning of the Local Authority Social Services Act 1970); or
(b) prescribed functions of a Local Health Board or an NHS trust established under s.18 of the National Health Service (Wales) Act 2006.
The Integrated Family Support Teams (Family Support Functions) (Wales) Regulations 2012 set out the local authority and Local Health Board family support functions in relation to children and adults.
The family support functions of an IFS team are to be carried out in respect of a family referred to it by the local authority (s.58(5)). S.58(6) sets out the kinds of cases that may be referred. Currently, a local authority may only refer a family to an IFS team if it reasonably believes or suspects that a parent of a child in that family (or a prospective parent) is dependent on alcohol or drugs (s.58(6)(a)). For the purposes of these provisions “family” includes (s.58(7), (8))
(c) a child in need (or a looked after child), the parents of the child, and, if the authority thinks it appropriate, any other individual connected with the child or parents;
(d) individuals who are about to become the parents of a child (if the local authority is of the opinion that the child is likely to be a child in need as a result of them becoming a parent of that child) and, if the authority thinks it appropriate, any other individual connected with the individuals who are about to become the parents of that child.
The Integrated Family Support Teams (Composition of Teams and Board Functions) (Wales) Regulations 2012 require that an IFS team must include a minimum of five persons each of whom are from one of the following professional categories: (i) social worker, (ii) nurse, or (iii) health visitor. A team must include at least one person from each of these categories and one member of the team must be a consultant social worker. A team must contain staff with suitable skills and experience having regard to the categories of cases which can be referred to it, the need of professional staff for administrative support, and, any guidance issued by the Welsh Ministers (Reg. 2). Where a family is supported by an IFS team, the Integrated Family Support Teams (Review of Cases) (Wales) Regulations 2012 establish requirements about how local authorities must review the cases of those families.