TAC as the family-owned organisational nucleus making the best use of limited resources


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This 7,000 word essay, written by Peter Limbrick and published in Interconnections Quarterly Journal (Issue 10, July 2010), is available free as a PDF from This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



The summary and introduction are offered here.


The focus in this essay is on how each child's TAC can function in early childhood intervention as the family-owned organisational nucleus – a persisting organisational nucleus that is essential for each child who has a 'multifaceted condition' to keep all separate agencies, services and practitioners working together in an integrated and coherent approach. The essay describes the relevant characteristics of the TAC approach and the potential achievements of a child's TAC, with just three or four people, functioning as the organisational nucleus for multi-agency, child and family-centred support. Peter Limbrick argues that the TAC System's work patterns bring real benefit to busy practitioners, make the best possible use of limited resources and, most important of all, recognise parents' natural central role in caring for their children. 

This essay has five sections:

A.    Introduction

B.     The children and families who benefit from having a TAC as their own organisational nucleus

C.     The main characteristics of each child's TAC as the family-owned organisational nucleus

D.    What each child's TAC as the organisational nucleus can achieve for the child and family

E.     Conclusion


The Team Around the Child (TAC) System was formulated during the 1990s and published at the beginning of the 2000s1 as a common sense attempt to better organise support for babies and pre-school children and their families when there were several agencies and multiple practitioners involved on a long-term basis. The traditional approach in the UK was found to be fragmented and unco-ordinated causing serious problems for children, families and practitioners alike. TAC came along with the idea of honing down the small army of people involved to a manageable team of parent plus a handful of people with the most regular and practical involvement whose task, at regular TAC meetings, was to create successive action plans for early childhood intervention. 

This essay is an attempt to represent the TAC System as the ideal early childhood intervention system in which each child's TAC, with a membership of parent plus just two or three practitioners, is both the starting point and then the continuing organisational nucleus. Each TAC recognises the parent's central role in caring for their child and takes firm control from the beginning of what the local agencies, services and practitioners are doing and will do. TAC members provide on-going support and interventions themselves and recruit relevant local resources as necessary to help child and family meet present challenges and prepare for the future.

This essay, while referring to other writings on the TAC System, is intended as a more direct and clear statement of how each individual TAC functions as the family-owned organisational nucleus. It offers new emphases incorporating enhanced child and family-centred themes that have arisen in the last couple of years at Interconnections seminars, and responding to the dire economic climate in which pre-school children with disabilities and special needs in the UK might, over the next few years, lose some or all of the hard-won advantages of recent years. TAC is presented as being:

  • genuinely child-centred
  • genuinely family-centred
  • an imaginative, creative and resourceful response to challenges the child and family face
  • considerate of practitioners' working conditions
  • able to make the best use of limited resources

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