Halifax Opportunities Trust – Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities

SarahMasonPhotography_197Halifax Opportunities Trust believes passionately about improving outcomes for families and much of the work we are involved in through our Children’s Centres plays a vital role in supporting and protecting vulnerable families in Calderdale. Our 11 Children’s Centres offer family support to 100’s of families every year across Calderdale and our team of Family Outreach Workers are a vital part of the support network for many young and vulnerable families facing crisis.

When one such family were referred to the Family Support and Outreach Team due to being new to the area and lacking in any family members living locally, it soon became apparent that in addition to providing emotional support to combat isolation, other issues were present. These included issues affecting the parents such as money problems, mental health and domestic abuse as well as wider issues linked to their community. On top of these problems, the parents were trying to manage three young children under the age of 5. After another incident of domestic abuse occurred it was necessary for Children’s Social Care to become involved and child protection plans being made for all three children involved. Ultimately the family were separated for a while to give the parents the opportunity to work on their problems and for the protection of the children.

As well as making referrals to other services that could help the family with their issues, the family’s Family Outreach Worker supported the parents to get their children back and the family are now back together. All three children are in school and nursery, Mum’s mental health has improved and she has regained her lost confidence. The children and their mum have started to come to groups run by their local children’s centre where they are making friends – helping them to feel less alone – and the parents have completed our parenting programme, ‘Strengthening Families, Strengthening Communities’. The programme has helped the parents tackle the challenges of parenting together as a team rather than separately. As a result of the hard work and interventions put in by both the parents, family and Outreach Worker the family are no longer on a child protection plan and the children have told our team that they are happy and that Daddy is no longer grumpy!