“What’s your success rate?”
It’s a question many people ask. I asked it myself when I joined St Michael’s. How many families from our residential houses go home after their stay with us with their child?
And one answer is: between a third and two thirds. Some years it’s higher than others.
The other answer is: 100%. Because the measure of success is a child or children’s future safety and wellbeing. Our duty is always to the child.
The young mums, all sat trying to keep small children in their seats on the coach, all have aspirations and dreams as fidgety as their children. They know that they want to give their kids the best start but there’s also a sense that they are held back, by their life, by society.
Challenging the idea there’s only one way to do it
When Yatta started working for us as a sessional, she didn’t realise how much working for us would impact on her future work as a social worker.
Yatta applied to be a sessional worker in our residential family assessment centres in 2014 when she was in her final year at University studying to be a social worker. After she qualified, she decided to apply to work with us as a family assessment practitioner. We were lucky to have her on our team.
Our recent one day’s training for new residential sessional workers was a stimulating, fun and comprehensive introduction to the challenging but highly rewarding work taking place in our four houses.
Led by deputy managers Hannah and Sonia, the morning sessions introduced St Michael’s way of working.
Emotions can sometimes be running high. We do everything possible to make sure families and children get the most out of this precious time.
With relationship breakdowns or child protection issues there can be a lot for families to process and take on board. It’s important that families are involved in preparing for these sessions.
We have been fighting to keep families together for over 100 years. Our teams work hard to help parents be the best that they can be and to keep children safe.
It can feel like they are walking into traps
“Their attitude is a habit, can I put it that way? It’s hard to change a habit, to change your whole way of thinking and way of talking. And then you walk into these professional meetings where they are judging everything. From the way you smell, the way you look, the way you talk, your posture, the way you present yourself, how sincere you are sounding, or not.“
The vast majority of families we have in our residential assessment centres are either on benefits or on very low incomes.
Arriving at our houses can be a very daunting experience for families. Sometimes they have little or no money. They have been sent here under very difficult circumstances to have their parenting abilities fully assessed. They are walking into alien environment with people they don’t know, to go through a difficult and challenging process.
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