Families with children in care to be given more help after funding boost

Families with children in care are to be supported by extra funds. Photo shows paper files. Photo: A

Families with children in care are to be supported by extra funds. Photo shows paper files. Photo: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire - Credit: PA

A project to help keep families together after a child has gone into care is being expanded.

Ormiston Families, a charity which helps children, young people and their families has been awarded a public health grant to enhance their Mpower project.

The scheme supports parents who have had at least one child removed from their care and are in need of additional support to understand and address the issues that contributed to this.

Figures show at least a quarter women will return to the family court having previously lost a child through the court process.

Service manager at Mpower, Alison Gillies, said the charity helps by addressing the issues that lead to removal with the aim of reducing the likelihood of it happening again.

She added: 'Often these women, and fathers who are on the scene, do not feel in a position to seek support through other means. We spend time developing a trusting and non-judgemental relationship and start the process of encouraging them to focus on themselves.

'They come to us with complex lives and we are able to offer a bespoke service according to need. This will often include practical support with finances, benefits, housing, healthy living activities and most importantly encouraging informed choices around their sexual health and contraception.

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'They tell us that they feel listened to and we are seeing positive outcomes, raised self-esteem and confidence, contraception in place, more stable lives and a reduction in the numbers of children being removed into the care system. Some have been supported into volunteering and into work.'

The funding will provide an opportunity to build on the current work in Norwich and Great Yarmouth by extending the service to King's Lynn where studies shows there is a real need.

Norfolk's director of public health, Dr Louise Smith, said she was really excited the initiative was being supported.

She added: 'It is a great opportunity to make a real difference to those parents that experience multiple care proceedings.'

The chairman of the county council's communities committee, Margaret Dewsbury, said it was a valuable service and to be able to extend Mpower to King's Lynn is a boost to provision for families in the west of the county.