Think child, think parent, think family: a guide to parental mental health and child welfare

Putting it into practice - the implementation plans

The key task for all of the implementation groups as they got together was to decide which of the guide’s recommendations to focus on, and to formulate an implementation plan accordingly.

The English sites chose to work on different recommendations depending on local needs. However, all the sites planned to work on the recommendations relating to:

In Northern Ireland, implementation proceeded sequentially through the nine priority recommendations.

As sites developed their plans, it became clear that whole-family approaches can apply to a range of services and service users. The sites worked across this range, with the majority of activities aimed at what we have termed ‘families in need’ – families who are known to statutory services, but are not at the highest tiers of either adult mental health or children’s services.

While the sites aimed to implement the recommendations in the guide, the activities undertaken did not always correspond directly with one of the recommendations. Some activities applied to more than one recommendation. An inter-agency protocol setting out working arrangements between adult mental health and children’s services, for example, may cover screening, assessment, planning and review. Other activities were not explicitly recommended in the guide, but were clearly in tune with its broader objectives. For example, placing mental health family support workers in children’s centres is not mentioned in the guide, but clearly supports a number of recommendations, such as the recommendation to develop services to support the full spectrum of need, including early intervention.