Working with young people: A profile of projects funded by the Partnership Drugs Initiative
Fife: Time 4 U project
Time 4 U makes available a resource worker for children under 12 affected by their parents' substance misuse. The service was developed by two local family centres: the Victoria Family Centre and the Cottage Family Centre. Child-centred family work is conducted on an outreach basis either at client's homes or at one of the partner organisations. The service also aims to encourage and support access to other available services for families.
The outreach resource worker, who is the project's only staff member, was formerly a senior nurse in a local childcare centre. The resource worker is employed and managed by Aberlour Childcare Trust who operate the Victoria Family Centre.
The project offers support to families in a relatively small and tightly defined area in West Kirkcaldy.
Work can take place at either of the two family centres, in other community bases, in the client's home or on local outings such as to the shore or the library.
Families with children from six weeks to 12 years whose lives are affected by their parents' drug use, with priority for children under three.
From the time of the first family's referral in October 2002 until July 2003 nine family groups have been referred to the project. This means that 18 children and 12 parents have received services from the project. The child who is the trigger for referral has tended to be of school age.
The gender profile of the children is as follows:-
The age profile is illustrated in Figure 23 below:-
None of the children are from a minority ethnic background and none of them have a disability. The project also offered support to 12 parents during this period, 9 women and 3 men. The team are still working with five family groups, four of the families' cases are closed, this means that they are still working with 12 children in all.
Following acceptance of a referral, an assessment form is filled out with the parent. This was developed by the service to suit its own needs, though a form used more widely by Aberlour Childcare Trust is being considered as a replacement. Questions cover care of the children, the child's health and safety in the home, the parent's drug use and any sources of support. Risks or issues arising from their answers are checked and summarised in a final sheet which forms the basis of a care plan to structure the parental intervention.
The child and the project worker draw up a separate one-sheet care plan and the worker meets each child for two hours every week to carry out devised activities. All work is recorded on a contact record sheet. At a review date set on the care plan, the family will meet with the worker and line manager to compare changes in parental and family life with what had been outlined initially and establish what issues have been worked on and improved. The family should exit the service once the worker believes the family have made sufficient progress, or if they move out of the area.
After an initial assessment, the children are provided with play activities and individual encouragement and support as appropriate, including informal counselling, resilience raising, art therapy and a range of local visits. For the parents the project offers home-based outreach work to complement existing services. The worker visits over 3-6 months and at first assesses their needs, then gives practical support with parenting skills and child management. The outreach worker facilitates parents in accessing existing services from other agencies for themselves and the children, such as health services, dentists and nursery attendance.
Other than the age limit for children (under 12) the only criteria for referral are that parents are willing to engage, and that their children are aware of the referral and the reasons for it. Most referrals come from the Social Work Department, with whom the service enjoys a good working relationship. Referrals also come from the Addictions Service and there are some self-referrals as well. From the time of the first family's referral in October 2002 until July 2003 the referral profile of the children is shown in Figure 24.