Lambeth Hidden Harm project goes live
The Compass Lambeth Hidden Harm project started to develop in January 2010 when I was brought into post as the Specialist Children’s Worker. The Hidden Harm service has been funded by Lambeth in response to the high prevalence of parental substance misuse that affects children and young people in the borough. The objective of Compass’ Hidden Harm Service is to offer children and young people a safe and non-judgemental environment in which they can discuss their feelings about living with a drug or alcohol using parent or carer.
Since January, I have been meeting with the various teams in Lambeth such as Social Care, Adult Drug Services, Youth Offending Team, Young Carers and Children and Young people services to discuss ideas for the project and getting feedback from frontline workers about the proposed service and what they would like to see offered to children and young people of substance using parents or carers. The feedback has been excellent and we have developed brilliant partnership working in the borough.
The service has been designed to ensure that children and young people are given the best service possible to support their particular needs. The sessions are carried out in an art-based focused format which allows us to decrease behavioural and emotional difficulties. By using less obvious goals, there is improved verbal communication, ability for self observation and more adaptive ways introduced for coping with anxiety and frustration. Since the service went live on Tuesday 4th May, referrals have come in from various partner agencies such as schools and social care.
The Hidden Harm service is committed to Multi Agency Working and the Team around the Child (TAC) focus. Working collaboratively with families and partner agencies, we are able to improve the outcomes for children in the areas identified by Every Child Matters, in particular ‘working with children affected by parent or carer’s drug or alcohol use, to build resilience and explore coping strategies.’
Specialist Children’s Worker, Compass Lambeth