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Dorset Families Matter

Information on the Dorset Families Matter programme including who is eligible.

Dorset Families Matter is a major partnership programme. It was set up in 2012 to deliver the government's Troubled Families agenda. It aims to support families who experience many complex challenges to help them improve their well-being.

Professionals supporting families

We have a professional page for those supporting families where they can find forms and further information. The page is restricted, so if you are new to Dorset Families Matter, email the Dorset Families Matter team confirming your role to get access.

See the professionals page

The national context

The programme is part of a significant national initiative which has the drive and commitment to:

  • develop new ways of working with families
  • deliver real, lasting positive change

Find out more about the programme nationally on (opens in a new window).

How does it work locally?

At the heart of the programme are lead professionals taking a whole family approach*, to help families:

  • overcome challenges
  • work towards their own positive outcomes

*See the  'what works for troubled families' document (pdf, 187kb) (opens in a new window) for details of a whole family approach.

A range of resources are available to support families. The level of these resources available depends on the needs of each family. 

Who is eligible?

Families must have dependent children and must be facing issues in at least 2 problem areas such as the:

  • parents and children are involved in crime or antisocial behaviour
  • children's school attendance has been irregular
  • children need help
  • adults are out of work or at risk of financial exclusion, and the young people are at risk of unemployment
  • families are being affected by domestic violence and abuse
  • parents and children have a range of health problems

See the full  eligibility criteria (pdf, 147kb) (opens in a new window).

Can I refer families?

Dorset Families Matter is not a service, so do not take referrals. The programme supports professionals already working with families, by getting them extra resources. We aim to mainstream whole-family working across Dorset and support all professionals to take a whole-family view in their work.

Our partners

We are always extending and improving the involvement of our partners. We currently have a range of public, voluntary and community sector partners engaged in the programme including:

  • NHS colleagues
  • Dorset Police
  • housing associations
  • district and borough councils
  • anti-social behaviour teams
  • schools and colleges
  • domestic abuse services
  • voluntary sector organisations
  • the Youth Offending Team
  • County Council's Family Support service

We work with Family Partnership Zones to ensure effective multi-agency working. If you represent a partner agency or work with families in a specific area, and want more information contact:

Information we hold and data sharing

We identify families for this programme by sharing information from many different public bodies. These might include records in relation to:

  • educational attendance and behaviour
  • aspects relating to employment
  • involvement with the police
  • courts and probation
  • anti-social behaviour
  • violence in the home
  • substance misuse
  • social care
  • vulnerable children
  • health issues

We will ask any family supported intensively under the programme to sign an information sharing consent form. The family's allocated key worker will also explain their rights under the Data Protection Act.

For more information about how we use and share data, please see our  2015 Privacy Notice (pdf, 633kb) (opens in a new window) and our  FAQs for data usage (pdf, 25kb) (opens in a new window).

Governance of the Dorset Families Matter programme

The Dorset Families Matter project is overseen by a sub-group of the Dorset Children's Trust. The membership of the Dorset Families Matter Strategic Board is set out as part of the Terms of Reference. See the  Dorset Families Matter Board - FINAL March 2015 (pdf, 39kb) (opens in a new window).

The Strategic Board meets quarterly and is supported by an Operational Board which meets bi-monthly. For more information, see the  agreed TOR DFM Operational Group for Phase 2 (pdf, 25kb) (opens in a new window) or contact the Dorset Families matter team.


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