Student-shutterstock_63409420Families Connecting

Are there people who you employ, provide a service to, or come into contact with on a regular basis, that are experiencing significant difficulties in their personal relationships? Is this impacting their daily lives? Would you like to be able to provide access to a service within your setting that offers relationship education?

If so, then providing a Families Connecting service might be the solution.

What is Families Connecting?

Families Connecting is a service that can offer educational support to individuals, or families, who are struggling with their relationships, or experiencing relationship breakdown. Mid Devon Community Family Trust (MDCFT) has been running a Families Connecting service in a local GP service since 2009. This service is suitable for those who do not need counselling but would benefit from support and ideas to move their relationship forward.

Families Connecting offers users the power to change their relationship through understanding, skills, knowledge, expectations and enabling them to have a voice when working with other agencies.

What Training is Available?

There is now training available for those who would like the service to be replicated in their own area or setting. MDCFT can deliver training to enable a Families Connecting service to run in a variety of settings e.g. schools (led by support staff), GP surgeries, Children’s Centre’s, Churches or businesses.

Evidence Base.

Research on the service found that clients attended fewer GP appointments and were offered fewer antidepressants as a result of attending sessions. GP’s reported that they had been able to refer clients to Families Connecting rather than NHS mental health services, which have a long waiting list and limited sessions to offer patients. The majority of the clients reported an improvement in their relationship. The greatest impact was on the clients understanding of themselves, others and the dynamics of their relationship

The service is well respected in the local area with referrals primarily from the GP surgery within which it is located, but also from Health Visitors, Mental Health teams, Schools, and Churches and self-referral through personal recommendation.

Testimonials from users

“I feel we have got strategies in place that we just pull out of the hat…and use which works, seems to work, or is enough to not let it all spiral out of control again”

“It kind of gave me things to focus on and to try to work my way through it all, if you imagine a bit of a path and it is all overgrown with everything, you still have to pick your way through it but you felt that you were better equipped to move it all out of the way”

“We are more focussed as a team, we have got more of an understanding of what the situation is.”



To run a Families Connecting service you will need to have qualified in the following Level 3 courses and attended a short one day course run by Mid Devon Community Family Trust. Alternatively you may just want to qualify in one or more of the courses for your own interest. Each course can be a stand- alone course, or part of a University Foundation Certificate or Diploma. Courses are run through Oasis College and accredited by Staffordshire University. 15 credits are achieved through completion of portfolios

Level 3 modules

Working With Families With Children Under 11

Section 1: Child Development
Section 2: Constructs of a Family
Section 3: Parenting Styles
Section 4: Supporting Parents
Section 5: Children’s Self-esteem and Communication
Section 6: Children with SEN or Disability

Working With Families With Children Over 11

Section 1: Theories of Teenage Development
Section 2: Self-Esteem and Identity
Section 3: Adolescents and the Family
Section 4: Communication and Mental Health Issues
Section 5: The Teenage World
Section 6: Solution Focused Approaches

Working With Families In Challenging Circumstances.

Section 1: Modern constructs of a family
Section 2: The effect of separation, loss and divorce
Section 3: The effect of adoption
Section 4: Child protection
Section 5: Disability
Section 6: Domestic abuse


There are three required days for attendance:The next course to be run is Working With Families With Children Under 11. Level 3

4th and 18th November and 9th December 2016. These will take place at The Centre for Integrated Health, Cullompton, Devon.

The cost for the course is £300 assessed through a portfolilo.

For more information Click here

Group bookings for organizations can be delivered to be convenient in time and location in negotiation with the trust.


If you would like more information about the service or training to run Families Connecting sessions in your area please contact, Vivien Southall 01884 266218 or email