A New Way Forward for Children's Wellbeing?


Dr Cathy Betoin

Sophie, Robin’s mum, approaches her school with a concern about Robin’s behaviour at home.
+ there are frequent tantrums, poor sleep and she is worried someone is going to get hurt.
+ Few issues are seen at school
So school feels it is not their concern or responsibility
+ School advises that Sophie goes to the GP.

+ GP explains Robin’s challenging behaviour is not their role so they will refer to CAMHS.
+ CAMHS referral rejected as child does not meet threshold. Sophie protests
+ GP at a loss and refers to Paediatrics.

+ Paediatrics – several appointments - possible ADHD? Sophie is offered medication for Robin. 
+ Sophie offered short workshop for herself, and a short intervention offered for Robin, nothing else

+ At home Robin continues to be difficult, anxious and challenging.   Follow up months later
+ Sophie is exhausted, depressed and increasingly isolated – she feels she has done what she can
+ Robin’s behaviour becomes increasingly escalated starting to deteriorate in school.

+ Warnings lead to exclusions and Sophie is called into school for a meeting
+ Sophie described by staff members as being uncooperative - even aggressive – this is ‘a parenting issue’

+  Safeguarding services are pulled in.   Then the police are called in.  Then specialist mental health services
+ Supporting Sophie’s role and her lack of confidence is still overlooked – ‘not our role?’

+ Lots of professional activity but poor result - and sadly common. Parents who go looking for help in the Kendal-Morecambe Bay area often find it very difficult to access.  The result has impact on everyone.

Here is what COULD be happening once we start to surface from the COVID-19 crisis period 

Sophie is a parent in the Kendal and Morecambe Bay area – or beyond .. where there is a local I Matter Community Building Strategy  - known as Parents and Carers are Part of the Workforce
+ via Public Health Sophie knows her role in her child’s development & wellbeing is really important. 
+ Professionals she meets know that supporting her confidence in her role and participation is really key.  
Everyone knows that supporting Sophie's skills development is key to community health outcomes.

+ Sophie and her partner Steve started I Matter learning about caring for children and older adults in school
+ They learned about brain development and how to observe children’s behaviour carefully
+ Classes were so interesting - Sophie and Steve found the skills helped them as a couple as well as as parents

+ Sophie even encourages her own Mum & Dad to take part in local classes – everyone chips in
+ since then everyone has started being more interested in what was happening when tempers flared. 

+ So, when Sophie has some difficulties with Robin at home she knows she can find informed support
+ When Sophie asks for help, there is a community ready to support.the development of her insight and skills 
+ Some professionals know how to check whether the school day is meeting Robin’s developmental needs
+ Others check that staff caring for Robin feel supported & understand how to meet developmental needs. 
+ Others help Sophie look at support options: some run in school, some in the community,
+ Family and friends know how to think together and pull together
+ Sophie and Robin rebuilds their relationship through local community support.and love learning together
+ Expensive reactive help not needed.     Robin MUCH happier and easier to teach.  Community safer.

Not so difficult to imagine, is it?


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