New Orleans Intervention Model
The New Orleans Intervention Model (NIM) is a cutting-edge intensive assessment and treatment programme designed to allow families where maltreatment has taken place to be reunited - based on the child's safety and best interest.
NIM therefore helps inform professionals and court decisions on whether maltreated children can be reunited with their birth family or should be placed for adoption with their foster family.
Preventing long-term damage
Courts must make the right decisions on where abused and neglected children should live but the parents and children must get help as soon as possible. Many children suffer long-term damage to their mental health because they are not helped swiftly enough.
Young children, in particular, are deeply traumatised by abuse and separation from their families and homes. More harm is caused if they are moved frequently between foster families or sent back to situations of abuse and neglect.
NIM was developed in the USA. The service has now been implemented in Glasgow in partnership with Glasgow City Council and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
NSPCC social workers are part of a professional multidisciplinary infant mental health team looking at the quality of children's relationships with birth parents and with foster carers. The team will assess and work with 50 abused and neglected children under five years old, (every year for two years), who have been removed from home because of abuse or neglect.
Backing from the Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund (BIG), Scotland will provide more than £1 million in funding for the NIM programme.
The Glasgow-based NIM programme trial will benefit from £1,073,780 in grant funding, allowing current investigations to continue; the feasibility of delivering the New Orleans model in the UK.
Big Lottery Fund Scotland Chair, Maureen McGinn, said: "We believe our funding today will have a significant impact on the lives of some of the most vulnerable in our society. Child abuse and neglect often have lifelong scars, this partnership project led by NSPCC Scotland in Glasgow will allow a rigorous trial of an innovative approach to support abused children to take place here in Scotland.
"We hope it will lead to more children being able to overcome the mental and emotional damage of abuse and enable them to have brighter futures."
Matt Forde, Head of NSPCC Scotland Services, said: "This Big Lottery Funding will help us to test a new approach which could help transform the lives of some of our most vulnerable young children.
"Experiencing abuse and instability of care at such a young age can scar a child for life and increase the burden on our health and justice systems. If, however, a child experiences stable, safe, nurturing and loving care as early as possible following maltreatment, their recovery can be rapid and remarkable."
Improving the lives of children
This programme could make a lasting difference to abused and looked-after children in the UK. Children assessed by the New Orleans Model in the USA were less likely to suffer abuse or neglect when they were returned to their birth families, and more likely to settle in well with a new foster family.
The NSPCC and its partners are working with researchers at University of Glasgow to investigate the feasibility of delivering the New Orleans model in a UK setting. whether it reduces the risk of the child being abused or neglected again, as well as helping to maintain stability in children's lives. If successful, it is envisaged that the model will also be used to inform family court decisions in England and Wales.
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