Children at risk of recurring abuse are to be the first in the UK to benefit from a groundbreaking US approach, which aims to overcome the impact and long term effect of childhood abuse and neglect, thanks to a grant of over £1million.
A four year clinical trial of the New Orleans Intervention Model (NIM) led by NSPCC Scotland working in partnership with Glasgow City Council, the University of Glasgow and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde and devised by Tulane Infant Team, Tulane University, Louisiana can now go ahead.
The New Orleans Intervention Model developed by Professor Charles Zeanah at Tulane University has suggested that working with the child’s birth families and foster carers to address the issues they face through targeted interventions may help a child who has been abused receive the stable, safe and loving care that is so vital to their healthy development. In the US foster children who returned to their birth families were less likely to experience abuse again. This funding of £1,073,780 from BIG will allow the development of this programme in Scotland and test its impact for children here.
Hearing New Orleans based mum Kesha talks with joy about playing kitchens and dress up with her youngest children, it is hard to believe that two years ago the state removed them from their home on the grounds of neglect. It was a difficult period for Kesha (30) and her eight children, who were then aged between one and 13. But thanks to Kesha’s dedication and the support of the Tulane Infant Team in New Orleans, Kesha and her children have recently been reunited.
“The Infant Team taught me to be a better Mom,” says Kesha. “I’m not saying I was a bad Mom before, but I was tired all the time and had no energy. The Infant Team brought me a long way. I knew I wanted my kids back. I focused everything on that. And the state, foster care, and the system worked with me, they wanted me to get my kids back.”
Kesha’s case reached crisis when her children were taken into care after the birth of her youngest son James*. James was, was born prematurely at six months, weighing just two pounds with bleeding on the brain. Doctors said he’d never eat or walk on his own.
“After James came home from hospital, the children were taken into care. The children were split among different foster carers and I only saw them for an hour every other week. It was hard. The children were really sad when the situation first happened. They didn’t know what was going on.”
Read more about Kesha’s story