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Think Family

Children in Northern Ireland are delighted to be rolling out the Think Family model to the community and voluntary sector. Put simply it is improving parental mental health by acknowledging that children, young people and their parents do not exist or operate in isolation.

Since 2012 Think Family NI, encouraging family focused practice, has been developed and implemented within a regional action plan under the Children and Young People’s Strategic Partnership. To date the initiative has focused mainly on the statutory sector, CiNI has been tasked with providing awareness raising on ‘Think Family NI’ and has been asked to promote training on The Family Model (TFM) in the voluntary and community sector. We aim to help embed this approach with the goal of improving outcomes for children, young people and families where the parent has mental illness and/or substance use problems.

The Family Model, developed by international expert Dr Adrian Falkov, provides clinicians and managers with a brief, accessible, and practical approach that supports collaborative ways of working with individuals and their families in which one or more members experience mental illness. TFM can be implemented by staff of varying experience and professional backgrounds.

Children in Northern Ireland believes that safeguarding is everyone’s business, and the Think Family training will secure better outcomes for children, young people, parents and families. Family structures are dynamic and varied. While the nature of families has evolved so our understanding and thinking needs to change. Understanding how mental health impacts on a person and interdependence of individual support and wellbeing has on the parent.


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