The Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 Partnership Arrangements Regulations require the partnership bodies for each Regional Partnership Board to establish a team for the purpose of the exercise of family support functions. A team established under this regulation is to be known as an Integrated Family Support Team (IFST).
This service helps families to stay together, by encouraging them to take positive steps to improve their lives. A local authority may refer a family to an IFST when there are concerns about the welfare of children, such as:
- Substance misuse
- Domestic violence or abuse
- History of violent or abusive behaviour
- Mental health issues
Families who experience such difficulties might be at risk of having their children placed into care, or having their names put on the Child Protection Register. IFST work with families to help them to make positive changes, so that any concerns are lessened and children can stay safely at home. They also provide targeted support and help connect children and adult services, focusing on the family as a unit.
Local authorities and their health board partners are required to work together to establish the service and provide support/services to families. This approach ensures greater accountability and shared responsibility in child and adult social services.