Securing Change: An Update

Securing Change: an update mid-way through the pilot

After a challenging start, we have made an informed re-appraisal and created a revised model. 

Revisions

Our original model was based on learning from other projects supporting mothers in repeat care proceedings, our own investigations with residential families, and research carried out by Middlesex University with families who had left our houses.

We envisaged that mothers who left with their children would not be offered the Securing Change service. This was because, as parents, they would have ongoing access to local authority support where necessary to sustain the changes they had made during their 12-week residential stay. We anticipated that mothers who left without their child would receive no local authority support around loss, trauma and practical need. We recognised that there were sensitivities but believed the majority of mothers would welcome our support.

Why we adapted the model

We had to adapt this model because:

  • It created a simplistic division. We learned to recognise the complexity of parents’ trauma post-assessment - whether they kept their child or not.
  • Grief and loss were often compounded by anger at St Michael’s recommendations. Support was rejected.
  • We learned to appreciate that responses to loss had highly individual timeframes.
  • We had waited to approach parents until the Court decision was finalised.  Due to the workings of the Family Courts, this resulted in delays of many months during which contact details changed and parents were experiencing trauma without our support.

What has changed

Our revised model recognises that any parent leaving our houses may need support. This includes those with their children.  If they have learning disabilities (almost half) or where domestic abuse is a factor (three quarters) they are likely to be offered some support by local authorities. 

But too often this falls away or is only available for a very limited time. This may trigger a downward spiral and relapse even where the families have kept their children.

Securing Change is now

  • offered to all parents before and after court proceedings are finalised
  • offered to fathers as well as mothers
  • not geographically limited

Our outcomes remain unchanged.

These changes have been agreed with our funders.

The work we have done in the past six months confirms that the way forward is:

  • 121 holistic support
  • helping to put mothers in touch with local services
  • advocating for mothers whose needs are complex and may be difficult to understand

We have identified that a significant proportion (half) have learning difficulties.  This has not been given weight in previous research and we believe it may be a significant finding. We may recommend adaptations to work in this area to make them more effective.

We have successfully expanded our work from the local region. We are currently supporting mothers in Hampshire and Wales.   

To find out more about Securing Change, please contact securingchange@stmichaelsfellowship.org.uk

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