C is a teenage mum who when we first met lived in a mother and baby unit with her partner R, and Child A, who is 20 months old. Since then they have moved in to a brand new house locally however, it came without any furniture or flooring.
We have gotten to know the family during their attendance at our First Steps group on a Tuesday morning, during which their aim was to try and socialise, both for themselves and for A’s development.
C discussed with staff about their financial struggles, and asked for some support with food parcels, furniture and carpets for their new home.
Additionally C made us aware of R’s drinking habits, and how he struggles with his own anger and mental health around his childhood trauma. R often sleeps in until early afternoon and has a part time job at a local pub kitchen.
C was struggling to find her feet in the house as a full time mum to A, and knowing what she should be providing him with to support his learning.
C faced anxiety about leaving the home and had financial concerns for them, as she only received payments of Universal Credit, which she used to pay all the bills.
C felt very isolated as neither C nor R can drive and they do not have any friends. C would often sit by herself at group.
C had signed up to Growing minds toddler group in an effort to learn more, but found it hard to attend regularly.
Areas Identified for Support
Our aims were:
- To join the Growing Minds project to support the family to access early learning opportunities.
- To refer R to Epic Dads for further support.
- To arrange for furniture, food parcels and flooring.
- To establish the families’ income and outgoings to help identify where to prioritise spending their money.
- Encourage and support C to attend groups to aid with her social anxieties as well as providing A with social opportunities.
- To create a daily routine so C could manage the house and A could spend time with both parents.
- To model how to play with A during activities and involve both parents within his learning and development.
- Provide C with regular adult company to listen to her and provide emotional, non-judgemental support.
Outcomes for the Parents
- R receives support from Richard of Epic Dads, which has aided in him being able to manage his behaviours more effectively and get the medication he needed for his mental health.
- They have a well equipped, comfortable home which C and R are proud of. They even hosted Christmas dinner for their family this year.
- Although money remains tight, C was able to create a budget and changed the way R is paid, so their finances were easier to manage and more predictable, thus meaning debts are being slowly paid off.
- C has been attending group weekly. It started by me meeting her at the house and we walked down together however, C now manages this independently and ensures A remains for the duration of the session to gain the most out of it. C has also been attending workshops with A and wants to attend the peep groups again when it restarts next month. This has enabled C to start to form friendships with other parents and build her confidence in new social situations.
- C brought some white boards to help with organisation. R has one beside the bed to remind him to take medication, times for work, and other responsibilities such as appointments and activities. C has one in the kitchen to help with paying bills, budgeting and remembering appointments. This has made the household more communicative and transparent about their joint responsibilities.
- C has been spending a lot more quality time with A, getting on the floor and tying to join in with his play. C finds this difficult due to some additional needs A is now displaying but she can identify what a difference this has made. R spends more time with A by taking him to the park, or playing in the garden, which was not being utilised before.
- C and I have built a great trust and she regularly checks in with me via text message. She feels a lot more confident in getting out of the house independently and with how she is generally feeling. C has been very proactive on getting A to doctor’s appointments and dealing with some additional needs he is displaying. This has been a worrying time for them but with my continued support, they are positive they will meet the needs of A on his new journey.
- C is keen to start LENA as soon as it becomes available and feels that the programme will aid in how she interacts with A.
Outcomes for the Children
• We discussed the possible impact A’s dummy could be having on his speech and language development, and strategies to use to distract him from being so reliant upon them. A no longer has a dummy during the day, which has seen an improvement in the amount of sounds he is making.
• C has sorted through all of A’s toys and has created areas in the living room and in A’s bedroom for playing and reading. This has positively affected the way A accesses his toys and how C and R use them to interact with A.
• By having suitable flooring in the house, and the garden area made safe, A now has a positive and safe environment to play and explore within. This has especially made a difference with the amount of outside play he gets and the opportunities this provides the family.
• By having clear routines in place A has benefitted from a more organised and predictable home life, as well as regular exposure to groups where he is surrounded by stimulating activities and children his own age.
• A is benefitting from a more confident mum and a more present dad who have a better understanding of how to interact with him and how best to support him in his learning and development.
• With my support C has accessed the doctor and health visitor for assessments on A’s development. This resulted in further investigations being required which although is scary for the family, enables for a better understanding of what we can continue to work on to support A in all his future learning.