Change is a Must (CIAM) provides intensive support and assessment of families affected by parental substance misuse where the children are aged from pre-birth to 8 years of age and deemed to be at significant risk of harm. CIAM is a 2 year pilot project (July 2010- July 201) and brings together 5 staff from Children’s Services, Health Services and Drug and Alcohol services in a multi-agency team. Recent research indicates the need for greater understanding of the impact of delay in decision making on infants’ life chances, of how to engage potentially abusive parents and develop effective interventions to improve parenting capacity.

The project model demonstrates an innovative approach which focuses on these themes, is underpinned by adult attachment theory and includes assessments of parenting capacity within time scaled, contract based interventions involving the whole family. The in depth assessments evidence parenting capacity, contributing to earlier decision making about the children’s future care plans. Learning from this model is being cascaded and embedded into mainstream services across adult and child care agencies. Both parents and practitioners have found that the process of reflecting on parents’ life experiences is an empowering one for the parents, and helps them reconsider their relationships with their child(ren) and others, engagement has been high  and there have been significant improvements in all the children’s health and wellbeing. Where decisions have been made for children to remain at home there has been an improvement in parental availability and mindfulness of their children as well as improved parental health and substance reduction.

Download the application form: OTW 06 Change is a Must, Services for Children Affected by Substance Misuse