Securing Change: The essential information
St Michael's offers support to parents who have stayed at our residential family assessment centres regardless of their present situation. Securing Change is a project to ensure support is available once families leave. This is important because 121 support at this crucial time will help reduce the number of children in the care system. It also stops vulnerable parents who have had children taken into care from falling through the gaps between adult and children's services.
Our Securing Change Practitioner
Ann-Marie is our practitioner who has over 15 years of experience, including social work and working with families.
Ann-Marie is aware of the difficult situations people can face:
"I am not here to criticise; I am here to help" Ann-Marie, Securing Change Practitioner
What is it?
Securing Change offers support to families who have stayed at our residential family assessment centres - whatever their present situation.
- Practical support: We help with finding housing, helping with benefits and access to health services.
- Emotional support: We help parents deal with their feelings after the assessment.
- Going forward: We help guide and support new learning, providing access to resources for returning to the community.
Who is it for?
This service is offered to all parents who have spent time in our residential centres.
Why does this programme exist?
This programme exists to embed positive change and for practical and emotional support.
- We know that parents often need support after leaving residential centres.
- We provide a support network that can help make a difference.
- We want to help parents continue with the changes they started during their stay with us to help secure change.
When and where does this programme happen?
Securing Change is introduced to parents during their stay at St Michael's as a service that is available when they leave. Parents may take up the offer as soon as they leave or sometime afterwards when they feel ready.
Securing Change is offered as 121 support, over the phone, face to face or through online services. This service is available as parents seek help in response to their needs.
The need for Securing Change:
The number of children in the care system is the highest it has ever been. Our three-year pilot showed the difference Securing Change made to the parents leaving our residential assessment centres. The Majority of parents who received 121 support from Securing Change did not become pregnant again or take part in further care proceedings.
Parents leaving residential parenting assessment may have limited or no support, be impoverished and prey to exploitation. We offer support to embed positive changes made during their stay: practically, emotionally and therapeutically. Our three-year pilot (2018-202)helped us understand parents' experiences and what support they need (2018 - 2021).
'Recurrent care proceedings' refers to situations where mothers have more than one child taken into care at different times. Extensive research has been conducted on how quickly some mothers are involved in court proceedings again with their subsequent child after their child has been removed from their care. There are various projects around recurrent care proceedings across the country, which St Michael's is monitoring and learning from them. However, Securing Change is for parents leaving residential assessment with and without their child.
We have discovered a chasm in the support available, which, we believe, needs a change at a policy level, beyond the scope of this project but something we will share with others. This is particularly true of parents with learning needs, which are disproportionately represented in this project. They are falling through the gaps between children and adult social services.
How does Securing Change help:
Each parent’s situation is different, and so is our approach. What works for each parent is different, so we are happy to discuss that. We want to make sure parents get the best possible help so we may:
- Attend meetings with social workers and other professionals
- Help with getting benefits in place
- Provide budgeting advice
- Assist with booking appointments
- Arrange online training courses
- Help with accommodation and furnishings
"Every client is different. I treat each client as an individual; that’s the only way it can work.” Ann-Marie, Securing Change Practitioner
The difference Securing Change makes
- Parents can resolve past issues
- Have better coping strategies in crises
- Relationships are healthier
- Parents feel able to access general services, local groups, and training.
How we evaluated Securing Change
It highlighted the successes of the project and its potential to grow.
We are most grateful for funding from The National Lottery Community Fund, The Philip King Charitable Trust, The Pilgrim Trust, The Tudor Trust, KPMG Foundation, The Elizabeth and Prince Zaiger Trust, and other trusts and individual donors to pilot this work.
If you would like more information or would like to talk to someone