An 8-year-old child has used our service over the past year and a half and has been supported on a one to one basis by his Keyworker. This child has witnessed domestic abuse within the home and had been placed at risk due to his step-father having a conviction for a sexual offence. There were also issues around his step-father’s misuse of alcohol which exacerbated the level of domestic abuse within the home. This resulted in the child being removed from the family home by Social Work Services and residing with a family member for a considerable period of time as a place of safety.
Throughout the assessment of the child, his keyworker highlighted his need for social opportunities to assist the child to develop his social skills and appropriate boundaries when with his peers. Therefore, this child was assessed as being appropriate for inclusion in a groupwork programme focusing on social skills, peer interaction and self esteem.
By using our monitoring and evaluation tool “All About Me” worksheet, all children in the group noted their likes, dislikes, strengths and weaknesses. When asked to describe himself, this child stated on his worksheet “bad, hell and devil” in the first session of the group. This signified his feelings of anger, blame and shame. By the end of the programme, using the same tool as above, this child described himself as “nice, incredible, good and smart” a marked difference in his view of himself indicating a promotion in his self esteem.
This group was a mix of children and young people with a range of complex needs as a result of chaotic family difficulties. As the group became established and the children and young people began accepting one another, their anger and aggression lessened and they began forming bonds with each other. Here are a selection of quotes from the children and young people from their feedback at the end of this groupwork programme: “…we could all live together in one street” (indicating if they did stay in the same street they could stay in touch, otherwise this is difficult due to local territorial issues), “…we don’t want the group to end.” and “…can’t we keep driving (in the mini bus)”. These comments highlight how a group of children and young people with very differing needs and difficulties were able to come together, share experiences and leave the group with a common bond evidenced by wanting to stay in touch with one another when the group ended.