Stories

Stories

Tessa Baring’s Legacy

Tessa Baring’s Legacy

The life and legacy of Tessa Baring.It was in 1973 that Tessa Baring first joined St Michael’s Fellowship’s board of trustees, with her initial connection to the charity coming from her mother-in-law Lady Rose Baring, who had also served on our board. Tessa’s...

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Winter Wishes – Campaign

Winter Wishes – Campaign

All too often young parents' voices are not heard - this Christmas we're here to make sure they are.This Winter we are centring the voices of the young parents we work with. Your donation will help us continue to support children and their parents over this Christmas...

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A Year of St Michael’s Milestones

A Year of St Michael’s Milestones

A Year of St Michael's Milestones This year we celebrate 120 years of St Michael’s Fellowship & 50 years of our Director, Sue.  It takes a special place & special people to grow & survive 2 World Wars, multiple financial crashes, the pandemic & more......

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Shantel’s Story

Shantel’s Story

Fifteen-year-old, Shantel was told she would end up in a council estate with ten baby daddies. Thirty years later, she is a successful leader in social work, senior academic and an active anti-racist campaigner. Shantel is clear that St Michael’s laid the crucial...

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EDI policy

St Michael’s is committed to putting Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) firmly at the heart of all we do. Our commitment to EDI is deeply embedded in our core values and directly informs the compassionate, honest, and expert work we undertake with each family. We recognise that every individual – whether a child, parent, staff member, trustee, volunteer, or partner – brings unique experiences, perspectives, and backgrounds to our organisation.

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Family feedback:

Family feedback:

Family feedback: Our family residential assessment placements are tough and very intensive but handled sensitively and with empathy, we get some great results. At first, families have missconeptions of our residential assessments. It is assumed that we recommened...

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Family Assessment Tools – using PAMS

Family Assessment Tools – using PAMS

Family Assessment Tools: how we use PAMS in our work St Michael’s approaches each family assessment on an individual basis. We have many tools to choose from and will use several during the course of an assessment, depending on the particular needs of the family....

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5-A-Day

5-A-Day

5-A-Day is an evidence based programme to help children flourish. Five Cornerstones of 5-A-Day The five cornerstones are; reading or storytelling playing with talking to praising ensuring a healthy diet. Play and stimulation build connections in the baby’s brain,...

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Case for more early help and support

Case for more early help and support

“Our children’s social care system is a 30-year-old tower of Jenga held together with Sellotape: simultaneously rigid and yet shaky,” Josh MacAlister, chair of the recent independent review of Children’s Social Care in England, wrote in the report. He told the BBC, ...

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Some therapeutic techniques we use during an assessment

Some therapeutic techniques we use during an assessment

Helping parents focus on what their children need is an important part of the therapeutic work we do. Parents who come to do a residential assessment are often deeply affected by trauma from their own childhood and lives. This affects their connection with their own...

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Sophie Assessment: Building trust and confidence

Sophie Assessment: Building trust and confidence

Sophie was a recovering alcoholic terrified that someone was going to take her baby away again; St Michaels had to work hard to help her feel happy to bond with her baby. This is the story of a mother who came for a Family Residential Assessment at St Michael's. Her...

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Support for young fathers

Support for young fathers

Young dads in Lambeth had acccess to very little support that's why St Michael's employed young father practitioners to offer them support and guidance.  We offer young dads, under 25, one to one support and encourage them to come to our young parents groups.  Here...

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Adverse Childhood Experience ACE – a short guide

Adverse Childhood Experience ACE – a short guide

Adverse Childhood Experiences (English) from www.substance.org.uk on Vimeo.   Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) are stressful events occurring in childhood including domestic violence parental abandonment through separation or divorce a parent with a mental...

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Securing Change: Continue and Grow

Securing Change: Continue and Grow

An independent review of Securing Change programme has highlighted its success and potential to grow. The study was carried out by The Centre for Abuse and Trauma Studies at Middlesex University.   The backdrop to this is the concerning rise in numbers of children in...

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Mothers Day Campaign

Mothers Day Campaign

As we approach Mother's Day, we want to recognise the many mums out there struggling alone and scared to ask for help.   Their greatest fear  There are lots of reasons why mothers we work with are worried, but one of their greatest fears is having their children taken...

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Separated Christmas

Separated Christmas

Many parents seperated from their children can feel lost and stressed at Christmas. Christmas can be a stressful time for families.  This could be because they either can't see their kids or seeing them means spending time with an ex-partner or family members....

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“I couldn’t believe this..” Mum’s Story

“I couldn’t believe this..” Mum’s Story

Gemma fell apart after the birth of her first child, her mental health deteriorated, and she turned to drink. This led to her ex-husband getting custody of their child. Fast forward 6 years and Gemma is with a new partner, Nick, having a second baby when suddenly...

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“A ray of sunshine” Ayoola our Young Parent Practitioner

“A ray of sunshine” Ayoola our Young Parent Practitioner

Dina had her first child at 20.  After her baby was born, it was admitted to the hospital. It left Dina worried about the baby getting ill again and losing all her confidence. At the time, she was struggling with health professionals, but then a ‘ray of sunshine' came...

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Death of Chris Kaba

Death of Chris Kaba

Check out the bayo.ubele.org resource, tweeted by the Charity Young Minds. The news about Chris has affected us all, now is the time to draw on community resources.   Visit the Bayo site to talk, or just read. They offer emergency emotional support, or you can look...

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Kindness to drive social work

Kindness to drive social work

Here we share some lessons from a careleaver who is now a social worker about the need for more kindness. ‘Trauma Resonance Resilience’ is a podcast by  Lisa Cherry a specialist in Trauma, Resilience and Recovery. In this episode, she interviewed social worker and...

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Young Parents Carnival Success

Young Parents Carnival Success

Young parents came together to host a carnival celebration, arranging activities and showing off their talents. Over 100 people came to "Carnival Comes to St Michael's." It was a day of celebration for all the young parents and their children, friends and families, as...

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Helping Fathers Grow

Helping Fathers Grow

Fatherhood is not always what someone imagines; at St Michael's, we often watch new fathers grapple with its challenges and then begin to grow. One dad found himself in a dire situation when asked to choose between staying with his wife or raising his child as a...

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Young dad

Young dad

The best way to show you the work we do is to let stories from our work speak for themselves. Each family helped by St Michael has a different story. Dwayne "When I first joined up with St Michael's I was literally... hanging on a string." Dwayne is father to an...

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A toxic mix holding a young dad back

A toxic mix holding a young dad back

“I can’t even let my child go out to water his tomato plants. He has to watch me do it.”  Nathan is a single parent; he lives with his two children in a one-bedroom ninth-floor flat in Lambeth. He has been trying to get a two-bedroom, but he is not a priority because...

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Working with parents with Learning Disabilites

Working with parents with Learning Disabilites

Working with parents with Learning Disabilities One of our centre managers, Kate, explains recent achievements. A key area this year is our work with parents with learning disabilities. We have implemented many practice changes in this area that have enabled us to...

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A meeting with London Marathon runner Rush

A meeting with London Marathon runner Rush

A meeting with Rush, runner of Marathons and many longer events!  Rush is our veteran marathon runner.  Every year he runs the London Marathon for St Michael’s and helps to raise thousands of pounds to support families.    Like so many others, Rush was gutted when the...

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Working with parents in a trauma informed way

Working with parents in a trauma informed way

Parents suffering the impact of childhood or even adult trauma can be hard to work with. The parents can come across as angry, aggressive, not present and uncaring. There is a lot of push and pull in these relationships. They want your help, and then they are pushing...

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Outreach Theory of Change

Outreach Theory of Change

Elaine Gaskell, Head of Outreach, explains the thinking behind our work with young parents.  The Outreach theory of change is based Upon Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need .    We believe that for young parents to choose to work with us, we must first understand what is most...

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Sessional family work with huge rewards

Sessional family work with huge rewards

Sessional Family Work with huge rewards We are looking for Sessional Family Assessment Workers who want to work alongside our expert teams. You could be a student studying social care or a professional looking for part-time work to fit around your children or other...

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Case for more early help and support

Case for more early help and support

“Our children’s social care system is a 30-year-old tower of Jenga held together with Sellotape: simultaneously rigid and yet shaky,” Josh MacAlister, chair of the recent independent review of Children’s Social Care in England, wrote in the report. He told the BBC, ...

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Nicole – Stories from our work

Nicole – Stories from our work

Lock-down in 2020 meant we had to rethink how we supported young parents in Lambeth. These parents needed us now more than ever. We got them data so they could get online and helped them get the tech they needed.  Thanks to our wonderful supporters we were able to do...

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Why do we train our professionals?

Why do we train our professionals?

To help families, we need the necessary training to provide them with the best services   Why do we offer training? Over the past 10 years, our services have helped many parents and repaired families. We understand the sensitivity of our work and the level of...

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Securing Change: what we’re learning

Securing Change: what we’re learning

Securing Change: what we’re learning Towards the end of our 3-year pilot, after nine months of the pandemic, what are we learning? All parents at our residential assessments know continued support is available when they leave, regardless of the outcome of their...

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Securing Change: An Update

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...

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LIttle village and our parents

LIttle village and our parents

As part of Challenge London Poverty Week 12 - 18 October, we look at Little Village. Imagine a foodbank but one filled with baby clothes and equipment. Many of the parents we work with are unprepared for the cost of the clothes and items a baby needs. Little...

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Food Poverty and Parenting

Food Poverty and Parenting

As part of Challenge London Poverty Week 12 - 18 October, we look at parenting in food poverty. Pre-Covid it was hard enough for many young parents to make ends meet. Now it is much worse. No hot meals and long-term impacts Lorraine is one of our young parent...

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Our intern Libby’s experience at St Michael’s

Our intern Libby’s experience at St Michael’s

Libby, a Criminology and Sociology student at the University of Sussex, has just completed an eight-week internship here with us. Here she explains some of the things she got up to in her time here and what experiences she learned from going forward into her third and...

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A parent’s experience of a residential family assessment

A parent’s experience of a residential family assessment

A couple, from the travelling community, described the experience of doing a residential family assessment as one of the hardest things they had ever done. They also had some words of encouragement for other families who come for assessment. The 12 week assessments...

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Young Parents Video Groups during Lockdown

Young Parents Video Groups during Lockdown

Video groups: what young parents tell us Our outreach team are there for young mums and dads during the lockdown, even as children's centres were closed and face to face contact is impossible. Young parent practitioner Ayoola reports: "We're seeing lots of anxiety and...

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Warm Welcome campaign a success

Warm Welcome campaign a success

It all started when Ayoola one of our team that supports young parents asked if we could find some extra money to buy gifts for the parents and children she was supporting. In response, our part-time communications officer (Sarah) set about setting up our first ever...

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Meet Ann-Marie our Securing Change Practitioner

Meet Ann-Marie our Securing Change Practitioner

When a parent leaves one of our residential assessments it can be hard to adjust. Now they can get support from our Securing Change project to help them take the next steps and adjust back in the community. Here we have a chat with Ann-Marie, our Securing Change...

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Supporting Families since 1903

Supporting Families since 1903

Supporting Families since 1903 1903, Agnes Parr, a wealthy widow, set up a charity in Pimlico. St Michael’s Fellowship and All Angels was to support ‘fallen’ women to have their babies safely - and to keep them. This was a radical idea for its time. So much has...

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Storytelling and how it helps children

Storytelling and how it helps children

Storytelling at Friday Young Parents Group Storytelling was a great session. We discussed how storytelling can benefit our children; basic speech skills; stronger parent-child relationship; strong sense of identity; encourage logical thinking, reading and...

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Jigsaw Contact: A father’s story

Jigsaw Contact: A father’s story

Steve had not seen his baby for over 10 months. It was a really difficult time for him. His relationship with his partner had spiralled out of control with both making allegations against the other. After a non-molestation order was in place, Steve had to apply...

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Jigsaw Contact: A Mum’s Story

Jigsaw Contact: A Mum’s Story

The last thing Celia wanted to do was make her son Ben go to supervised contacts. She did not want him to build a relationship with his dad in what she thought would be a sterile and fake environment. On top of that, Celia was also anxious about being around her...

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Jigsaw Contact: A Foster Carer’s story

Jigsaw Contact: A Foster Carer’s story

Contact can be an emotional time for children and their relatives but how do foster carers deal with this and how can contact centres help them? We spoke to one of the foster carers who has been coming to our Jigsaw Contact Centre for nearly three years. She explains...

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Young mum & domestic abuse: Case Study

Young mum & domestic abuse: Case Study

Here we talk to Clare* about her life growing up and how she ended up coming to our DIVA group that supports young mums affected by domestic abuse. After witnessing domestic violence as a child, she thought it was an acceptable way to behave, regularly attacking her...

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“No other work like it!” says deputy manager

“No other work like it!” says deputy manager

When we said we needed help with recruitment and letting people know what the benefits of working for St Michael’s are, our deputy manager, Hannah said she’d help. She works in one of our Family Assessment Centres and wants more people to know how important the work...

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Why we don’t take emergency referrals

Why we don’t take emergency referrals

Why we don't take emergency referrals We get asked if we take emergency referrals for our residential centres a lot. The short answer is no. But we can turn a referral around very quickly if we have good information and cooperation from the local authority and space...

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A haven for young mothers

A haven for young mothers

Clare found St Michael's was 'a haven for young mothers' in 1984 When my parents found out I was pregnant, they said I’d I have to move out if I was going to have a baby.  It was 1984 and I was just 18. I found out about St Michael’s and my son was born a month after...

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New sensory play room created by staff at St Michael’s

New sensory play room created by staff at St Michael’s

A new sensory play room has been created in one of our residential assessment centres for vulnerable families. We are so proud of the effort the team put into make it for the children and parents they work with. We know play is important for children, babies and their...

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First Caring Dads of 2019 a success

First Caring Dads of 2019 a success

Here's some of the great feedback we had from the dads that took part in our first Caring Dads of 2019.   Did you enjoy Caring Dads? “I did enjoy the group work. For the first day it was a bit like boring but after the first session I begin to love it.” “No [I didn’t...

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Securing Change: A mother’s story

Securing Change: A mother’s story

A mother describes the life-changing impact of the Securing Change project and urges other parents to take part.  “I was a mess I couldn’t leave the courts,” Lindsey is describing the moment when she found out her children would be taken into care.   She had finished...

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Securing Change: Sophie’s story

Securing Change: Sophie’s story

“It is my choice to work with Ann-Marie, no one's forcing me, and no one is forcing her. Most of the other things I have to do is forced, so to speak, it's part of a contract, if I don’t do it, I might lose Mia again,” Sophie explained. Feeling powerless Some of the...

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ASYE for newly qualified social workers

ASYE for newly qualified social workers

ASYE for newly qualified social workers We offer Newly Qualified Social Workers (NQSWs) the Assessed and Supported Year in Employment (ASYE) programme. The ASYE is a twelve month, employer-led programme. It offers support and assessment set against the Knowledge and...

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Interview with one of our Family Assessment Practitioners

Interview with one of our Family Assessment Practitioners

“Without this opportunity, professionals may not realise a parent’s potential and families may be separated when they don’t need to be.” Ellie, one of our Family Assessment Practitioners, talks about her work and the importance of St Michael’s Residential Assessments...

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“A magical relationship with her baby”

“A magical relationship with her baby”

A childhood of abuse and neglect during which a young mum had watched violence in her family home countless times left her frozen, speaking in a low monotone voice. She seemed unable to respond to any attempts by her baby to catch her attention.  Elaine* was a very...

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Young mums want to know about us sooner

Young mums want to know about us sooner

Young mums, who come to our young parents groups, told us they wished they had known about St Michael's sooner. The mums also talked about how they felt isolated and judged at play groups with older mothers. "I used to go to a lot of baby groups but they like more...

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What’s made Sue so happy?

What’s made Sue so happy?

That huge smile on Sue, our directors, face isn’t because she loves ironing. No it’s because of the incredible response we’ve had this month from the local community and our supporters. What's been happening this September? This month volunteers helped us sort through...

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What would you tell your younger self?

What would you tell your younger self?

"When you've been in care, having a baby is like walking through a door. And on the other side you are not a kid who can ask for help anymore - you are an unfit mum geting ready to do what is expected of you." Narrator from the film.  This powerful animation as made...

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What happens when you take young mums to uni?

What happens when you take young mums to uni?

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,...

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One happy dad makes contact

One happy dad makes contact

Jigsaw Contact Centre got a glowing report from one of our dads last week.  We think our Jigsaw Contact Centre is pretty special, it's good to hear this kind of feedback from one of the dads that uses it to see his children. "My feedback is 100% positive. All the...

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Welcome bags to welcome new residents

Welcome bags to welcome new residents

A great start to the residential process We aim to welcome families to our houses with a warm and thoughtful gesture. The vast majority are either on benefits or on very low incomes. Arriving at our houses can be a very daunting experience for families. Sometimes they...

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Expectant Dad Roland

Expectant Dad Roland

How St Michael's helped an anxious first time expectant dad to overcome his problems. Roland was referred to St. Michael’s by the Teenphase Midwifery service.  His partner Sophie was four months pregnant. Neither of them was in full-time employment or education. This...

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Young dad – John’s Story

Young dad – John’s Story

John is 18 and a young dad. He has a four-month baby. He’s separated from the 18-year old mother because of his domestic violence. His child was the subject of a child protection plan under the category of neglect, initially as an unborn child when John assaulted his...

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Young mum and young dad

Young mum and young dad

Here you can read some of the stories from our work. Each family helped by St Michael's has a different story.  Simon - Helping a young father remain in contact with his son Simon is the father of one-year-old Leo whose mother is Lisa. Lisa and Simon’s relationship...

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Kim – young domestic abuse: a toolkit for youth workers

Kim – young domestic abuse: a toolkit for youth workers

Kim - young domestic abuse is a toolkit for teachers, youth facilitators and community groups working with young people. Kim introduces and explores the difficult issue of domestic abuse in young relationships. Kim helps young people to identify different kinds of...

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Co-parenting

Co-parenting

"fathers are not pursued if they fail to attend a case conference or seek support, whereas mothers are" Co-parenting is where parents work together to raise a child even though they no longer live together. Co-parenting helps children to feel less anxious and confused...

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Denique’s 2017 internship

Denique’s 2017 internship

‘If you’re looking for a hands on internship, St. Michaels is for you!’ Denique, our intern, is leaving us today after 10 weeks. Here is what she had to say about her time here: "I am a second year studying Media and Communications at the University of Sussex. During...

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Parenting Keyrings

Parenting Keyrings

"The keyring and routine chart helps me have a more child-centred day."  (Mother) The original keyring tool was created by one of St Michael's deputy managers to help parents at a residential assessment centre to learn to schedule and complete daily tasks. The keyring...

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