Middlesbrough mum opens up about past trauma and life-saving help her family has received
A state-of-the-art project in Middlesbrough offers early trauma-informed interventions to struggling and vulnerable families.
Jill (not her real name) is a single mother in her late 30s, and her children no longer have contact with their father due to his domestic violence and addictions.
She was sexually assaulted as a child, witnessed domestic violence in the home, and previously struggled with drugs, all issues that link her own child’s developmental trauma to her own children.
Read more: 35 people a day call the police for domestic violence during the pandemic
“I feel like I now understand a lot more why I was behaving the way I was and reacting badly.
“I would lose completely with the kids and now I know why,” Jill said.
The Seen, Heard, Believed (SHB) project, carried out in partnership with Safer Communities and Middlesbrough Council, offers an innovative approach to Trauma Informed Practice (TIP) to vulnerable families for as long as needed.
One of Jill’s children was referred for early help due to her vulnerability to child exploitation and county networks within the community, with her siblings also exhibiting disturbing behavior in matters. drug-related activity and violence.
Jill felt unable to cope with the worsening situation and agreed to receive support from the SHB Project to resolve some of the underlying traumatic issues and stabilize her family.
Jill said: “I also understand that the kids were going through the same thing as me.
“My dad was violent and always picked on my mom, hitting her and everything.
“I saw her cry a lot, she was still depressed and no one was there for me at all.”
SHB practitioners worked with the whole family and provided individual interventions that supported self-regulation, which improved the family’s ability to talk to each other and solve their problems together.
Considerable time was spent with the five children, exploring their feelings and hopes for the future, and how they might be achieved.
The workers were able to build cohesive and supportive relationships that allowed them to explore some of the traumatic events they had experienced.
Jill was also able to understand the impact of her childhood on her parenting role and she was able to meet some of her own needs.
She said: “The help was amazing, I was shocked at how easy it was to do things differently with techniques that help me and my children cope better and we are. more relaxed.
“Kids say they love each other more and they think I’m better because I don’t lose my temper all the time.”
While there is still work to be done with this family, there is an agreement and a plan for what will happen next.
Had Jill’s children been included in child welfare, within child welfare the annual cost of the social worker would be between £ 34,774 and £ 44,830 (£ 830 per week).
If they were to become a watched child, each child would have cost the local authority £ 67,000 each year, including the time of the social worker and the independent review officer.
And all children in care are said to have cost £ 335,000 per year.
Without intervention, the cost to the emotional, social and physical well-being of children and families is immeasurable and could have lifelong consequences.
TIP strives to understand and respond to the impact of trauma, with an emphasis on physical, psychological and emotional safety.
It aims to create opportunities for those affected to rebuild a sense of empowerment and control in their own lives.
The SHB project, initially funded by Lieutenant-Colonel Cohen Charitable Trust, has helped 123 family members since its launch in June 2020, including children, youth and their parents.
After a successful 12-month pilot, the project secured additional funding from KMPG Foundations and Frontline Changing Lives for a minimum of two years, and potentially up to four more, alongside the Cohen Trust.
This vital funding will help more families in Middlesbrough.
The pilot’s success is also due to practitioners from the voluntary sector.
Safer Communities COO Lesley Makin said: “This is a project that makes a difference because it occurs early and takes into account how trauma affects the whole family.
“For example, if a woman has experienced trauma in her own life – perhaps she has been sexually abused or domestic violated or has suffered from addiction – or she may have endured all of these things together – this can have an extremely negative impact on their ability to be a successful parent.
“This project addresses these issues early on before things get even worse, and it helps families really understand what drives their problems, how it affects each other, and feel empowered to do so. tackle “what happened to them” and move on. “
The project is comprised of partnerships with the Middlesbrough Council, including the South Tees Public Health Project, ADDER (Addiction, Diversion, Disruption, Enforcement and Recovery), and the Police and Crime Commissioner’s Office has also invested more in the ‘initiative.
The SHB project is part of the Stronger Families, Early Help Teams of the Middlesbrough Council, but remains independent.
It offers a range of longer-term interventions with families referred through the Frontline Changing Lives and the Multi-Agency Children’s Hub.
Lesley said: “The lack of time constraints by which other services are often limited also makes a huge difference and the fact that SHB practitioners are independent of any other statutory professional.
“This means that our work is not so motivated by the demand of the workload and that they have the time and flexibility to build secure, trusting relationships with families – this is crucial in enabling families to ” learning to shape what they want and need, to be able to take responsibility and make changes, cope and recover.
Longer-term help means that practitioners will ‘check in’ with families, even if the case is closed for intensive support, to ensure that the intervention remains successful and that booster sessions could be done. provided if necessary.
Director of Lieutenant-Colonel Cohen Charitable Trust, Wendy Shepherd has long supported the idea that early trauma-informed intervention is essential to engage and work with families to promote and support change.
Wendy said, “I and the Cohen Trust are delighted to be working in partnership with Safer Communities, KPMG and Middlesbrough Council to promote and establish trauma-informed practice as a way to support families. “
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