At times Joel’s behaviour is very difficult. Cathy joined an Incredible Years group with Barnardo’s Child Bereavement Service to help her understand how to manage Joel’s behaviour. During the programme, Cathy was made redundant. In spite of these difficulties Cathy regained her confidence and uses the ‘attention’ and ‘ignoring’ principles she has learned to help her with Joel. She says that she has a tool kit now to help manage the many challenges that being a parent brings. As a result of the programme Cathy now feels more in control and has secured a part time job which allows her to spend quality time with her children.
He returned to the care of his father but this lasted only six months. His behaviour became increasingly challenging for his carers meaning he changed foster care provider three more times. At school, his tantrums and violent outbursts alternated with extreme quietness and refusal to cooperate became a major barrier to learning.
When Tyler was six he took part in Reading Recovery – a one-to-one reading intervention. He could only read the simplest of books with support. He could barely write his name. When asked to read he used avoidance tactics. He soon began to enjoy the routine of daily half hour sessions and quickly realised he could solve his own reading problems. He became focused and motivated.
After 15 weeks he could read at the level expected of his age group and write 100 words. His teacher says his behaviour has improved, he looks happy and is on the path to success at school.
Sarah has been a victim of her step-father’s abuse. She started to show signs of difficult behaviour at school and a lack of confidence.
A support worker referred Sarah and her mum to Stronger Families. The children’s group built Sarah’s self-esteem, helping her to deal with her emotions and understand that the violence was not her fault. Her mother’s group sessions gave her a better understanding about her daughter’s feelings and they can now talk in a more open way. Sarah’s teacher says her confidence is improving massively which is having a positive effect in all aspects of school life.
The father has acute mental health difficulties and the mother is alcohol dependent and suffers from depression. The four eldest children had not been in school for the past 18 months. The two youngest children were at risk of permanent exclusion from school due to their very challenging and aggressive behaviour. They were all in danger of homelessness.
The FIP identified what was required and coordinated the services involved. They visited daily ensuring the children went to bed and got up at appropriate times. The parents were subject to ‘parenting contracts’ and the children to ‘acceptable behaviour contracts’. The mother was supported to attend alcohol counselling. Education and training provision was put in place for all the children. Tenancy support and debt management were also provided. A multi-agency team met every six weeks to review the family’s progress.
As a result, in the last nine months there have been no further complaints of anti-social behaviour. All school age children are now in full time education with over 90% attendance. One child has just achieved five A-C grade GCSEs. The mother has benefitted from specialist counselling support and is attending employment training. So far the James family have sustained their positive changes.