To make a difference
The New Beginning's mission is to work holistically with families who are known to Children’s Social Care for concerns relating to neglect; emotional, physical or sexual abuse. Parents who find themselves in this situation have most likely experienced prolonged episodes of trauma, such as physical, sexual and emotional abuse, often within the home, at some point in their lives. These traumatic events can lead to issues with mental ill health as well as drug and alcohol misuse. Our vision is to work closely with families so that they can turn their lives around and in return, teach other families how to do the same.
LEARNING & PRACTICE
At New beginnings, we realise that many parents find being a parent difficult because of issues they may have experienced in their own childhood. This may be because they have come from a disadvantaged background or found themselves in a situation where they have faced a number of different social, emotional, environmental and health related challenges. Collectively, these factors can affect parents' ability to provide what social care services may refer to as: ‘good enough care’. The aim of this project is to break that cycle by working with parents and their children for a period of six months. During, the first five months parents will attend an intense course designed to help them recognise who they are, understand why they parent in the way that they do and develop new skills which can help them progress and move forwards. During the six month, parents will become teachers. They will feedback on their learning, their prior experiences and their newly acquired knowledge by becoming peers and mentors to the newcomers who join the project.
When families first join the project they will be assigned a key worker who will provide them with support throughout the duration of the programme. Families will be part of a safe and supportive, learning environment. However, their involvement is entirely voluntary and if they wish to withdraw they may do so at any point. In addition to the support they receive from their key worker and other practitioners, families will also have the opportunity to develop connections with other families. We have learned that when families are part of a peer support network, parents are less likely to feel isolated and stigmatised and more likely to learn and engage with their children and other professionals.
Making positive changes
At New Beginnings, helping people turn their lives around and keeping families together is at the forefront of what we do. Our programme has been designed to enable families to reach their goals and fulfill their potential. This site provides information about the impact we have and explains what we do to bring about positive change.
FROM IDEA TO REALITY: THE EVOLUTION OF NEW BEGINNINGS
New Beginnings is a concept which has been inspired by the Flemish organisation 'Stobbe'. Comparative research carried out by Leigh (2013; 2014; 2017) into the way in which services are provided in Flanders, Belgium and England, found that in Flanders residential centres are effective in providing better outcomes for children and parents. The findings showed that once parents were separated from the issues they faced, they were able to see their situation differently. The classes they attended provided parents with the space they needed to develop their own emotional resilience and improve their parenting abilities.
THE HISTORY OF STOBBE
Everyone deserves a second chance
Stobbe means the stump of a tree and signifies ‘new beginning’ for families. It opened in 1990. It was originally a homeless hostel for women with one or more children and for women who were fleeing from domestic violence. After one-year of being open, Stobbe received funding from Kind en Gezin (child and family welfare organisation) to concentrate on supporting children aged from 0-6.
In 1995, Stobbe started to identify as a centre for Integrated Care so rather than just providing parents with support, they started thinking about the family as a whole. Stobbe was aware that there were often issues between the mother and their children who were staying at the centre and these could not be resolved by working with the parents alone.
In 1998, they developed an agreement with families who came to Stobbe, one which focused on working with children AND their parents. The support included financial support; finding a home and all other child in need issues. However, they mainly focused on relationships between the mother and the child. They also realised that if there was a father present who was living with the family, or having a relationship with the child, then he should be able to join them so that Stobbe could work holistically with the family as a unit. If there was no partner, or only one parent, then they would continue to work with the single parent and the children. They also worked with same sex couples.
In 2014, the law changed and under the Integrated Youth Care Law and Stobbe moved from being funded by the Department of Welfare to the Department of Youth Health. Families were also charged for staying there.
Stobbe is driven by the belief that parents and children need to be together to learn how to function well as a family. Stobbe is not driven by performance indicators or cost-effective measures. It is part of a social welfare ideology which believes that everyone who wants a chance of turning things around should be given one.