New rooms for vulnerable children and families open

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VULNERABLE children and their families can now take advantage of ‘inclusive’ new facilities opened by the Family Intervention Service.

Six rooms, which include a parenting suite with a playroom and kitchen, have been created in memory of Tracey Najib, a family support worker who died from cancer in May.

And, following a recruitment drive, the Family Intervention Service will have a dedicated team of 17 family support workers and one social worker from 4 January.

The Service’s development manager, Patroneller Ndhlalambi, said: ‘The rooms allow children to come into a safe space where they can play and be involved in their care with their families. This aspect of our services means that positive interactions between children and families can happen.

‘We also support parents to learn to parent, from helping them bathe their baby to working with them on putting together a healthy meal plan.’

Speaking to the JEP, a parent – who wished to remain anonymous – explained that they had to give up their job to care for their child full-time.

They said: ‘I would like to work, of course, but at the moment it is not possible to go back to work and look after [the child] because they come first.’

Asked about the new rooms and support on offer, they said: ‘I am very happy with it. It is very inclusive for children and families and I feel very supported by the professionals. ‘The best thing is being able to be with [my child].’

The family rooms were among the recommendations of a report by the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry, published in 2019.

Children’s and Education Minister Scott Wickenden said: ‘During the inquiry’s two-year review, rooms for family contact were described as cupboards. I am so proud of the team at Children’s Social Care Services for responding to the Independent Jersey Care Inquiry in turning these rooms and office space into a family environment and ensuring that children have been involved and at the heart of planning these new rooms.’

He added: ‘It is fantastic that we are growing our resources to support vulnerable families in Jersey. Although there is still some way to go, the family rooms and the life-changing work by a new permanent team in the Family Intervention Service is an example of how far we’ve come. A stable and reliable workforce is fundamental to delivering practice standards and quality services.’

Ms Ndhlalambi said: ‘Tracey worked tirelessly throughout her career to get us to this position. It is unfortunate that she is not here to witness what she initially started.’

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