Vulnerable people and families: Sarah and Bob’s Story

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Scenario: In the past

Scene 1: Meet 16-yr-old Sarah and her 11-yr-old brother Bob. Sarah has an unplanned pregnancy and Bob is behaving aggressively at school.
Sarah has an unplanned pregnancy. She lives at home with her mother and her 11 year old brother Bob. Bob is always in trouble and often behaves aggressively both at home and in school. Sarah and Bob’s family have had many problems in the past. Sarah has a fragile relationship with her mother which causes conflict in the home.

Scene 2: Bob’s behaviour goes from bad to worse.
Bob is increasingly aggressive and difficult to control both at school and at home. He doesn’t find it easy to concentrate at school, he feels he’s no good at anything and prefers to get attention through causing trouble. The school have asked Bob’s mother to come and talk to them and Bob is eventually excluded, after one fight too many and he is sent to a Pupil Referral Unit. Bob is also in trouble with the police.

Scene 3: Sarah feels alone and is worried she won’t be able to care properly for her child
Sarah has always had a difficult relationship with her mother. She doesn’t feel like she can ask her mother for help once the baby arrives. She doesn’t follow the recommendations of the midwives to go to motherhood classes. She is busy trying to keep her brother out of trouble and trying to avoid run-ins with her mother.

Scene 4: Sarah’s child is born into a chaotic, unhappy home
Sarah feels overwhelmed but doesn’t want to ask for help. Bob has been in trouble with the police and she’s scared people will assume the house is unsafe for a child.
The health visitor is worried about the baby’s welfare and calls social services. They assess the situation and the baby is taken into foster care.

Scene 5: Sarah is distraught and leaves home
Sarah moves out of home, she is ashamed and angry with her mother for not helping her. Bob loses one of his only positive relationships and continues to get into more serious trouble.

COSTS: £58,000 per year


Scenario: In the future

Scene 1: 16 yr old Sarah has an unplanned pregnancy and her 11 year old brother Bob is always causing problems. 
Sarah has an unplanned pregnancy that she wants to keep. She lives at home with her mother and her 11 year old brother Bob. Bob is always in trouble at school and often behaves aggressively at home. Sarah and Bob’s family have had many problems in the past. Sarah has a fragile relationship with her mother which causes conflict in the home. Sarah and her mother are both worried about how they’ll cope with a new baby.

Scene 2: Bob’s behaviour is a cause for concern and some help from Families First is suggested.
Bob’s behaviour has become increasingly aggressive and he has been suspended several times. They have suggested the family may need some early help and they have arranged with Bob’s mother to meet with a Families First key worker.

Scene 3: Bob gets involved in sports and activities and is given a youth mentor.
A Families First key worker makes an assessment of the whole family and identifies that Bob’s mental health is affected by arguments and tension at home. They help find Bob some sports sessions in his local area so he can spend some time outside of the house being active. They also find him a local youth mentor so that he has a positive role model in the community and someone to encourage him with his activities.

Scene 4: Sarah is helped to access support to ensure she can cope and give her the right skills.
The Families First worker also identifies that Bob’s sister Sarah needs help with her pregnancy. They put Sarah in touch with the Teenage Midwifery Service and takes her to the ‘Young Mums to Be’ parenting course. This helps Sarah feel confident, gives her the skills she needs to look after her child and improves the relationship with her own mother. Sarah’s mother is also given guidance on parenting so she is better able to look after and support Sarah and Bob.

Scene 5: With some early help and support, Bob and Sarah’s problems are now manageable and things are improving.
Intensive joint assessment and brief interventions by health, school and Families First professionals help the family build on its strengths and make good use of community support. Sarah is confident she can care for her child and her relationship with her mother has improved. The improved atmosphere at home and positive activities have helped Bob settle down and his mentor is able to feedback to the school if Bob has any issues.

COSTS: £1,800

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