In May 2014, YMCA Reading opened a Young Families Unit to increase the available housing options for young parents in Reading. As part of that process, RCVYS offered support around developing a different set of partnerships than they had previously connected with, and in identifying some different outcomes for work with young children. RCVYS also offered advice around setting up a support package designed around young families. As part of that process, a skills gap was identified in some of the support workers in support for parents and families.
Through its mailing list, RCVYS was able to make sure that YMCA Reading received information about the Working with Parents Qualification which is run by New Directions in Reading, and was developed in previous years with insight from other RCVYS Members. YMCA Reading identified a member of support staff to attend the training, and she started the training in September 2014, and it will finish in July 2015. The aim of this training is to improve outcomes around independent living skills, caring for the young child, and beginning to demonstrate good parenting skills. These will be monitored as part of weekly key work sessions, and recorded in their case management system.
Developing this new approach and undertaking the Level 3 Working with Parents qualification with New Directions, the support worker has reported that she already feels that she has increased her skills at working with parents, and having a greater understanding of working with families, including translating the theoretical elements into practical work with young parents.
An example of this difference that this has made is in their work with F. F is a young mother who moved in to the YMCA just after giving birth to her child. Since first moving in, she has greatly improved her skills in practical hygiene and cleanliness for her baby. This has in turn led to her child thriving, and her Health Visitor being very happy with the development of the child and the skills of the mother. This has prevented an escalation in Social Care involvement in her care for her baby, and enabling her baby to have the best start in life, when it could have been significantly impaired.