Vulnerable families to be helped by new service

A new service to help support some of Doncaster’s most vulnerable children and families has been launched by Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, supported by local partners.

Thanks to funding from the Department for Education (DfE), the new Multisystemic Therapy for Child Abuse and Neglect (MST-CAN) service will focus on providing support to the whole family, with special attention given to parents to help them overcome a range of personal challenges.

An evidence-based model, MST-CAN works with families, in partnership with other agencies, to help them deal with a variety of issues and to keep children safely at home.

Using a range of therapies and approaches that best suit the family, the practitioners work with them in their home, providing evidence based therapy for a raft of issues, including substance abuse, depression, anger management, anti-social behaviour, impulsive behaviour and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in young people and adults.

Doncaster will be the fifth authority in the UK to run the service. At the launch event delegates heard about the real impact the service has had with families in other areas in the UK from Cathy James, the National Programme Lead. Dominic Wilson, supervisor of the MST-CAN service in Newcastle shared examples of real success with families that his service has worked with.

The MST-CAN team, which will include three newly-appointed therapists and a supervisor, will each have a maximum caseload of four families at any one time, who will be available to work intensively with all members of the family. The service will also offer an on-call 24-hour seven-day a week service for families, so that whenever a family needs critical help and advice they can access it.

Pauline Turner, Director of Performance and Innovation at the Doncaster Children’s Services Trust, said: “The Trust prides itself on its ability to use new and innovative approaches with families in Doncaster. The MST-CAN service will support other services by working intensively with some of most vulnerable families and working with all family members. We will be there to support families to bring about real change in their situation and give families the tools to sustain these changes.

“We are really looking forward to working with our partners, including Doncaster Council, education, the police and health services to help some of the most vulnerable families in Doncaster.”

Cathy James, National Programme Lead MST-UK, said: “The premise of the MST-CAN service is that it views the family as the major agent for changing children’s behaviour and outcomes and works to tackle underlying difficulties for parents and children who have experienced trauma. It looks at the family as a whole – the neighbourhood around them, family friends and support networks and, what’s happening at the children’s school.

“The model looks to build upon existing skills and other strengths within the family and their support network, to help them to become independent and avoid the need for long term intervention by professionals.

“I am very excited about working with Doncaster Children’s Services Trust and look forward to witnessing the impact they will make among families in desperate need of help.”

“She had been happy with you as the social work manager because you “had time for children.”

Reported comments of a looked after child made during a meeting

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