Innovative bid to keep babies with parents in the spotlight

Norman Lamb MP, left, arriving for his meeting with Parent Infant Mental Health Attachment Team and

Norman Lamb MP, left, arriving for his meeting with Parent Infant Mental Health Attachment Team and Norfolk County Council staff. Photo: NSFT - Credit: NSFT

A service which has helped scores of babies at risk of being removed from their families stay with them has been showcased to an MP.

Staff from the Parent Infant Mental Health Attatchment Team (PIMHAT) and Norfolk County Council (NCC) met with Norman Lamb, MP for north Norfolk, along with families who have been helped by the service.

The meeting took place at Mary Chapman House in Norwich. Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) and NCC staff explained more about the support they deliver and the way the partnership between the two bodies works.

Service users also spoke about their experience of receiving care.

The visit was arranged to showcase the work of PIMHAT, which works intensively with families where a specific safeguarding concern has been raised, with the aim of reducing the number of babies being taken into care in Norfolk.

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Set up in 2015, the service offers families targeted mental health support and specialist therapy to encourage bonding and improve the relationship between parents and their infants.

Dr Richard Pratt, clinical psychologist at NSFT and clinical lead for the team, said: 'We were delighted to welcome Mr Lamb, who has a particular interest in perinatal mental health, to Mary Chapman House.

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'His visit gave us the chance to showcase the range of support which we offer to help parents from a strong attachment with their baby.

'Our team has worked with 92 families and 111 parents since the service launched, offering intense support that helps them to remain together.

'For those infants who are removed following our involvement, we have been able to support children's services in identifying the issues and with some of the parents, offer support following removal at a highly distressing time.

'Most of the parents we work with have experienced neglect and harm in their own childhood and we have a duty of care to them as well as their baby.'

Latest figures show that 77pc of babies whose families come into the service ran by PIMHAT have remained with their parents, and safeguarding concerns have decreased for many infants.

Mr Lamb said: 'I hope that the attachment team builds on its early success and provides a model for future partnerships.'

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