Reaching out to Highland communities

Children 1st local manager Julie Kennedy explains how our work in Highland is making a difference to children and families.

At Children 1st we’re constantly learning and refining our approach to helping children and families through difficult times.

Today, you’ll find us less often supporting children individually and from our premises, and more often working with whole family groups in their homes and communities. That’s because every child is part of a web of relationships that can support or hinder their development – or their recovery, if they’ve been abused or experienced other traumatic events. And it’s why we’ve recently moved our base in Highland, from lovely but remote premises in Killen, to an office in the centre of Inverness close to its main transport links.

But we’re not staying put. This spring we started a six month pilot of outreach activity in Tain, Ross-shire, running a group and a drop-in service for kinship carers, doing one-to-one work with children and families and helping children’s welfare professionals improve their understanding of how abuse and other traumatic events affect children. We’re looking at whether this approach could be replicated in other areas in Highland.

Kinship carers – extended family members or family friends who care for a child who can no longer live with his or her parents – are a big priority for us.

We’re pleased that Highland Council is aware of their needs and has funded us to support kinship care placements, particularly those at risk of breaking down, with children being re-placed outwith Highland a potential consequence.