Family Matters aims to work intensively with parents/carers on a voluntary basis. Early intervention has been recognised as promoting the best outcomes for vulnerable young children in the Scottish Government Publication ‘The Early Years Framework’
The Family Matters midwife offers support during pregnancy that continues for as long as necessary. This includes ante-natal care for parents less likely to engage in mainline services, such as pregnant women experiencing addiction. Referrals are made from the Special Needs in Pregnancy team and she delivers a group work programme with an Addiction Worker from the Maternity Hospital. Another development has been delivering a healthy relationship programme in a school for young people with additional support needs, in conjunction with education.
Family Matters hosts a methadone prescribing clinic, in conjunction with Renfrewshire Drugs Service, for women during their pregnancy and beyond. This ensures seamless service delivery in a child friendly environment. Women can also be ‘fast-tracked’ into treatment at a particularly vulnerable time.
Intensive support is offered on an individual and group work basis. Support packages are tailored to meet individual need and often involve a range of workers from the Project at any one time. All staff are trained in baby massage to promote parent/child attachment. Sessions such as booktime/rhymetime have been very successful, particularly for parents who have experienced disruption in their own childhoods.
Excellent partnership working ensures vulnerable young children are given every opportunity to achieve their potential. Approximately 375 individuals receive a service at any one time and service users and referrers give very positive feedback about the service they receive. The Project has been highlighted as an example of best practice in a recent HMIE Child Protection Inspection Report and SWIA Report. It has achieved Chartermark status with particular recognition given to customer care, flexible service provision and consultation with service users, partner agencies and staff.
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