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Edge Of Care Services

To access any of these services, a child/family must be open to Social Care. MST can also accept referrals from the Youth Offending Service. Services can only accept referrals from COGs if a shared service with social care.

What’s the difference between the services?

Family Solutions Team (FST)

Crisis response

Where a child is open to social care, the Family Solutions Team will respond to urgent crisis situations where there is a possible need for a child/young person to become Looked After due to relationship/conflict issues. The response will be within 24 hours and wherever possible, a same day response will be provided. The Team will offer ongoing work or suggest/signpost to other services such as MST and Targeted Services.

Placement stability

Wherever the child may be living, to include Home, Internal Foster Care, Adoption, and SGO. This does not cover children’s homes nor external foster carers – unless by exception i.e. in extreme situations where there is a significant benefit to keep things going.


FST will offer advice and support coordination for potential reunification situations.

MST exclusion

FST will work with Families where the MST exclusionary criteria is evident and access to MST to prevent the need for an out of home placement is therefore denied. Advice and guidance to Community Operating Groups is offered where this would add value.

Family Group Conferencing (FGC)

A family group conference is a family-led meeting in which the family and friends network come together to make a plan for a child. The process is supported by an independent coordinator from the FGC team who helps the family prepare.

FGC also offer Emergency Network Meetings in situations where a quicker solution is needed. This is usually where the family are not already known to the Trust, and where because of a safeguarding incident, the child/children are likely to be accommodated as a result.

Multi-Systemic Therapy (MST)

MST is an intensive intervention for families with a child who is at risk of out of home placement in either care or custody due to their offending or having severe behaviour problems.

We have two teams: MST Core Team – focused on ages 11-17, and MST ‘E’ Team that works with 10-15.

Criteria for MST – child exhibiting 2 or more of the following:

  • criminal behaviour (conviction, final warning, reprimand within the last year)
  • frequently missing/absconding
  • substance misuse
  • school exclusion/attendance concerns
  • association with negative peers or unknown/criminal adults
  • aggressive behaviour outside of the home

MST ‘E’ Team

As per MST in terms of criteria with a slight amended age criteria of 10-15. Evidence of exploitation or risk of exploitation is needed as this is a pilot project funded through the Youth Endowment Fund which is being formally evaluated. There is some flexibility to test the MST model so call us if you think you have someone suitable.

MST ‘E’ can work alongside Horizons where a Horizons worker is allocated to the child (there have been some extremely positive outcomes for families where this has happened – with Horizons completing shared work with the child and MST ‘E’ with the family)

MST ‘E’ work with the family and all of the systems around the family to safety plan, reduce referral behaviours and to increase the pull factors into the family and prosocial peers and activities.

There are some exclusions where referral may not be accepted for both team, mainly where:

  • The young person is living independently or a parent/ primary caregiver cannot be identified.
  • The young person is in an ‘out of home’ placement that precludes the involvement of MST.
  • The young person is presently experiencing suicidal thoughts and that is the primary focus
  • Sexual offending in the absence of other anti-social behaviour.
  • The young person has a significant pervasive developmental disorder which is at a level where they may not respond to MST treatment.
  • When a carers cognitive functioning is at such a level the carer does not demonstrate the capacity to respond to MST interventions.