Making a difference in Moray - the holistic way

Children 1st local manager Lorna Mulholland explains how our work in Moray is making a difference to children and families.

It’s Saturday morning, and a Moray family is getting ready to go out. Just like other families across the county. But there’s a difference. Until recently this family was mum, dad and two children. Now there are five children - the additional three having come to live with their aunt and uncle because their own parents couldn’t look after them.

There’s another difference. They aren’t going to the cafe, beach, cinema, or to do whatever ‘typical’ Moray families do. They’re going to meet other kinship care families like them at a monthly get-together lunch organised by Children 1st. When they arrive, the children head off to see their new friends. While they play, the adults share experiences, off-load frustrations, and get advice and support to help their newly expanded families thrive.

Monthly get-togethers aren’t the only thing Children 1st offers the family. In regular visits we’re helping them adjust from being a family of four one day, to a family of seven the next. We’re helping them to liaise with social workers and make sense of differences between social services in Scotland and in England, from where the three children came.  And there’s the one-to-one support we’re giving to the children - to help the new arrivals recover from the scary, traumatic experiences that put them in kinship care - and to help the family’s original two children adjust to a new life with their cousins.

Our work with kinship care families is a great example of our approach to supporting families in Moray more generally. We don’t focus solely on any one child, but look at the needs of the other family members too because we know that children do best as part of strong and happy families.

We’ve also been breaking down compartments in our own practice. So it matters less whether a worker’s post is funded to help mums affected by domestic violence, or to support children’s recovery from abuse and other traumatic experiences, or for advocacy work that enables children to have a say in formal decisions. What’s more important is that skills and experience across the whole Moray team can be mobilised to meet children’s and families’ needs in a holistic way.