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Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership

If you are worried about the welfare or safety of a child or young person

Email: mashagency@lewisham.gov.uk

Tel: 020 8314 6660

Think Family Approach

In April 2023, the Lewisham Safeguarding Adults Board (LSAB) and Lewisham Safeguarding Children Partnership (LSCP) jointly agreed to focus on Think Family as a strategic priority.

Learning from Local Child Safeguarding Practice Reviews and Safeguarding Adults Reviews have highlighted the importance of adult and children’s services working collaboratively and taking a joined up, whole family approach.

Families are dynamic, evolving and not linear. When we describe family, we mean:

Anyone who is identified by the service user as their family or who is part of their family network.

In Lewisham we have identified that a Think Family approach highlights:

  • The importance of practitioners thinking about children and adults’ the wider context.
  • The need to focus on family networks which safeguard and provide nurture and care for children and adults.
  • The importance of looking beyond the household, to consider their extended family, friends, and the community.
  • The importance of recognising children and adults’ connectedness to wider contexts than your immediate family, this could include faith leaders, mentors, and community support.


Familiarise yourself with the family, their unique culture, character, strengths and vulnerabilities. Who are the significant people in their lives (including any new partners/adults in the home)?


Be professionally curious about everything and ensure that when you encounter a family that you physically check that everyone in the household is safe and well.

Make a Plan and Review
Decide what actions you need to safeguard ‘adults at risk’ or children. Give special consideration to people who are pregnant and unpaid carers, and particularly young carers.

Information sharing
Information gathering and sharing is key to building a Think Family approach. Do not assume someone else knows an important piece of information.


To demonstrate collaborative working, practitioners must communicate effectively to share concerns and work holistically together.

Your Responsibility
We must take responsibility for ensuring that we work effectively with our partners to help support families, and in doing so prevent abuse and harm.

Legal Framework: The guidance is supported by key legislation, including the Care Act 2014 and Children Act 1989 and 2004, emphasizing inter-agency cooperation to safeguard children and adults.

Working with Fathers and Carers Toolkit

The toolkit provides practical strategies for engaging fathers and male carers in early help and social work, recognizing their significant impact on children's development and family outcomes.

Research Insights:

Engaging fathers in early help and social work has been shown to positively impact children in several areas:

  • Improved Educational Attainment: Better school performance.
  • Enhanced Cognitive Development: Improved thinking and problem-solving skills.
  • Better Emotion Regulation: More effective emotional management.
  • Positive Behavioural Effects: Overall behavioural improvements.
  • Improved Social Competence: Better interactions with peers and adults.
  • Higher Self-Esteem: Increased confidence and self-worth.

   Research also indicates:

  • Reduced Need for Statutory Services: Families require fewer interventions.
  • Better Outcomes for All Family Members: Positive impacts extend to the entire family (Bateman, Darwin, and Galdas, 2017).

Why Include Dads and Male Carers?

  • Distinct Parenting Influence: Dads' parenting significantly influences childhood development at all ages (Fletcher et al., 2014).
  • Increased Involvement: Dads are increasingly taking active roles in parenting.
  • Strong Desire and Motivation: Dads are motivated to be good fathers (Smith, 2008).
  • Role Definition: Especially in separated families, clearly defining the dad's role is crucial understanding how dads see themselves and how children view their dads.
  • Positive Impact: Positive involvement from dad’s benefits mums/partners and children (King, 2010).
  • Responsive Parenting: The more dads respond to their child's needs, the more they will be involved in healthy community activities (McKeering and Pakenham, 2000).

Tools for Supporting Dads and Male Carers:

  • Element 1 - Think About Dads and Male Carers: Consider dads and male carers in inclusive and positive work with families.
  • Element 2 - Promote to Dads: Actively promote services and support to fathers.
  • Element 3 - Engage with Dads: Develop strategies to effectively engage fathers.
  • Element 4 - Work with Dads: Collaborate with fathers in providing support and services.
  • Element 5 - Motivate Dads: Encourage and motivate fathers to participate actively.
  • Element 6 - Learn More About Working with Dads: Continuously improve understanding and skills for working with fathers.

For more detailed information, please click here to view the Lewisham Think Family Practice Guidance

Click here to view the Working with Fathers and Carers Toolkit.Working with Fathers and Male Carers Toolkit Resources ,Working with Fathers and Male Carers Toolkit Checklist


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