Holding Families


Introduction to Holding Families

Holding Families is a multi-disciplinary service that aims to help families with problems associated with significant parental substance misuse, where children and adults needs are dealt with and responded to at the same time. We work with each family member separately and as a family unit, for about five months. We will work with families where there is at least one young person under the age of 18 living in the family home or where the substance using parent is pregnant. At least one of the parents should have problematic drug or alcohol use. Families can be referred by themselves or by any professional working with them. The service has grown from strength to strength and due to achieving excellent outcomes for children and their families and being seen to be a cost effective service, Holding Families is now available in Bury and Rochdale.

History and Background

A group of managers from Early Break, Bury Drug and Alcohol Service and Children’s Services, in response to the “Hidden Harm” agenda, created the Holding Families model in 2005. They piloted the model and after evaluation by Murphy et al, 2007 (Salford University) Children’s Services funded a Coordinator post at Early Break in Bury. The service has grown from strength to strength and due to achieving excellent outcomes for children and their families and being seen to be a cost effective service.

Aims of Service

  • To support and encourage the family to talk about substance use and associated problems
  • To highlight any significant harm caused by parental drug or alcohol use
  • To empower parents to make necessary changes
  • To encourage parents to remain in treatment for alcohol or drugs
  • To allow children’s voices to be heard by parents and workers
  • To help families move down the safeguarding threshold
  • To build on the things families are already doing well

Offer to Families

  • Referral for treatment with a drug and alcohol service
  • One to one sessions for children and young people with experienced, trained workers
  • Group work programme for parents delivered at children’s centres
  • One to one sessions for parents
  • Family meetings
  • Support and understanding of Safeguarding, Child Protection plans and Common Assessment Framework and submitting reports to evidence family progress
  • Support for carers and non-using partners

Family Feedback

Taken from external and internal evaluations: “A lot better for taking the first step in getting my family life back on track” “I think the Holding Families project is a really good idea and hopefully we will learn a lot more and come out the other end better people and parents” “It’s better meeting and talking in groups at least you know you are not alone” “Hearing other people’s problems makes me feel more positive about getting clean” “ It has been interesting and emotional” “It is eye opening having to realise what effect we have had, but a good positive experience” “Holding Families has saved me and my son from myself”

How to get help?

If you are a parent, carer, child or young person and you need our help, please phone Early Break on 0161 723 3880. If you are a professional and you wish to make a referral, please complete the Holding Families referral form with the parent(s) and send it into us at info@earlybreak.co.uk. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions about the service. Referral-Form-Button