New service gives vital support to new Falkirk mums battling alcohol and drug issues

A new service will give vital support to new mums in Falkirk who are affected by drug and alcohol use.

Children's charity Aberlour, working in partnership with Falkirk Council, says the new intensive perinatal support service is about helping new parents to give their babies a chance to have the best start to life.

Winnie Delaney, manager of the new service, said: "Welcoming a new baby is a very exciting time in a family’s life.

"It is filled with opportunities to have a fresh start.

The aim is to give people the support they need.

"As we work closely with families and support agencies, we hope that parents can improve their health and wellbeing on their road to recovery."

"Our hope is for parents to be better equipped to provide a safe, loving and consistent family environment for their child.”

The new service will be delivered with Falkirk Council, Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership, and CORRA Foundation.

That means working closely with children’s services and health and addiction recovery services, to ensure families receive holistic advice.

And the aim is to give people the support they need.

“We do everything possible to help children remain with their birth families” says Lesley James, Falkirk’s senior service manager for Children’s Services.

“For many parents living with adversity, they need intensive support to be the best parents they can be.

"This new service takes an innovative approach, working in partnership with the local authority to meet those needs.

"It will link support from the Alcohol and Drug Partnership directly with intensive parenting support to ensure babies can safely remain with their birth family wherever possible”.

To develop the service, Aberlour consulted various partners, including the Scottish Drug Forum (SDF) and families who have been affected.

Many of the mothers they spoke to said they had been intimidated by procedures and that people assumed that they were not fit to be a parent due to their substance use.

One parent said, “I felt judged at meetings… like I was a second-class citizen”.

Others agreed that they felt they were left behind and treated differently from other parents.

The new service means that families will receive intensive support from pregnancy - in the hope that will help them to face a brighter future.

Research shows that parental substance use can impact a child’s development, not only when the baby is born but also during pregnancy.

According to Falkirk Council, parental substance use was a risk factor for 50% of Falkirk children on the Child Protection Register (CPR).

Figures also showed that 81% of unborn babies remained on the register following their birth, signifying a need for extra help at the earliest stages of a child’s life.

The intensive perinatal support service will become part of the existing Aberlour early years outreach service in Falkirk, which works with families of young children looking for support and advice on best promoting their child’s development.

Ms Delaney added: “We’re thrilled that the new service is going to reach more families in Falkirk.

"Keeping families together safely is at the forefront of everything we do."

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