Building attachment between infants/toddlers and their parents

As part of Flying Start development plans, the core Flying Start team commissioned four pilot projects to support our learning and contribute to the delivery model. In this e newsletter a pilot which focuses on building attachment between infant / toddlers and their parents is described. In future e newsletter, information on the other three pilots will be shared.

The Children Centre staff at Building Blocks Children Centre had reported that observations of parent infant attachment have been a cause for concern for the staff team with the emerging needs of families most often related to mental health issues and social isolation, impacting on children’s emotional wellbeing.

The aim of the pilot is to transform a current drop-in for mothers and babies at Luton Beech Hill Children’s Centre into an attachment focused drop-in group. This is a nine month pilot that will be evaluated by the Anna Freud Centre, with the potential to be rolled out across the Luton.

The pilot will be delivered at Blenheim Baby Babble currently functioning as a universal service to a culturally diverse population, with a high level of families who have been identified as having higher levels of needs through the Common Assessment Framework assessment or who are on a Child Protection Plan. The drop in is a popular session which already has high rates of attendance. The intention is to augment support for the psychological needs of high risk the babies and parents attending a Children’s Centre outreach drop-in. This will be achieved through increased staff understanding and skills in actively supporting the parent infant attachment relationship through training and supervision, and through reconfiguration of the provision.

Anna Freud have delivered the first two days of training to all staff at the Children Centre which focused on supporting staff with the observation of infants in the context of their primary relationships, to support understanding of babies communications (reading the child’s cues). A final training session will be delivered in September.

Following the whole setting training, a small group of staff will be identified and trained to act as facilitators to reorient the existing baby group provision such that the psychological needs of the parents and babies are more in the forefront, with focus for mothers and babies at high risk of developing attachment problems. The aim is to increase staff skills in supporting the attachment relationship through more active interventions to bring about measureable improvement. The pilot will be supported by a systemic family therapist as group trainer and a supervisor from the Anna Freud Centre.

The Centre has experience in the development and running of such groups, and a visit to Luton confirmed that the baby groups are well suited for this kind of intervention. Staff will be selected specifically for the pilot group and this will take place in early September once initial training for the whole staff team and flying start midwifery link workers is completed.

Changes in knowledge and practice in the staff consequent on training will be evaluated alongside evaluation of global changes in the baby group with reporting by the Anna Freud Centre.

We will report on the findings in 9 months’ time.


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