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Promoting secure attachments between infant and caregiver

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Note that any names of residents in our case studies have been changed to protect their privacy. Their stories, however, are real.

Two parents, Helen and Brian arrived at Majestic with their new born baby son William. It was the first child for both parents, each of whom had been diagnosed with learning difficulties. In addition, Brian had extensive mental health difficulties and both parents had experienced neglectful and abusive childhoods.

Whilst Helen and Brian had cooperated with professionals during the pregnancy, there were concerns around their ability to parent, due primarily to their own difficult backgrounds and learning difficulties, and Brian’s mental health issues. Brian left the placement shortly after arrival struggling with his mental health. Helen continued in the placement with her son.

majestic family services - crib

Given Helen’s learning difficulties, we worked with her in a way which supported these difficulties. Our assessors at Majestic are PAMs trained and we used the PAMs model in our assessment work.  We used extensive role modelling and other methods which included the below to try to help support her retention of information:

  • verbal instruction
  • role modelling
  • video feedback
  • reinforcement
  • Using pictorial and other visual aids
  • Home-based, in situ to support generalisation

Despite our efforts, it was evident that mother was struggling to meet the needs of her son. Baby William was increasingly unsettled with his mother and beginning to show the emergence of insecure attachment behaviour.  Staff were increasingly having to meet his needs as mother was unable to and his preference for staff over his mother was becoming more evident.

Towards the mid way stage, it was clear that baby William’s emotional and physical needs were not being met by his mother despite the constant support and guidance given to Helen by staff.  We had to consider the merit of continuing with the assessment to its conclusion with the best interests of baby William.  Given the lack of progress by Helen, and with no indication of her being able to improve further in relation to her parenting, together with the obvious harm that baby William was experiencing in the care of his mother, Majestic advised the Local Authority of our view that baby should be separated from his mother urgently to avoid him ongoing distress.

Staff are kind and helpful. Everyone is lovely.

HelenResident

The outcome

The case was heard at an urgent removal hearing the following week and baby William was removed from the care of his mother and placed in foster care. Despite this clearly being very distressing for Helen, she was able to recognise that Majestic had done everything possible to support her, stating that she had not wanted to leave and provided positive feedback to Majestic.

Ofsted 'Outstanding' rated assessments

The staff consistently concentrate on what is in a child’s best interests and they work hard to help parents to develop a similar focus. The staff are clear about what skills and attitudes parents must demonstrate to show that they have ‘good enough’ parenting skills.

Ofsted

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