Caritas Young Parents’ Accommodation
Caritas Young Parents’ Accommodation Service provides safe, comfortable accommodation and support for vulnerable young parents and their children. It provides a period of stability, usually but not exclusively for young mothers and their children, at a time when they are exposed to increased risks or multiple vulnerabilities. Our team of professional staff work with parents to prepare them for independent living giving their children a better start to life.
The services are based in two locations, Bolton and Blackburn and routinely accommodates up to seventeen young parents and their infant children at any one time.
Accessing the service
The services can be accessed by direct referrals from parents who are or at risk of homelessness or by professionals working with the mother and family. Both services are staffed 24/7 by a caring, skilled, supportive team and provides a highly valued service, with a level of safeguarding, support and guidance. Our services are widely recognised by statutory agencies, midwives, health visitors, social workers, family support officers and other professionals.
‘This excellent service is run by friendly, supportive and well informed staff and is ideal for young mums who are vulnerable.’ (Comments from Family Nurse Partnership)
‘I really want to say a massive thank-you for all your help. Every one of you helped and supported me to be an independent woman and a fantastic mother of 2. What you all do is amazing and I will always be grateful’.
(Comment from past resident)
The services maintain a strong reputation and great success rate. Young families are typically enabled and supported to move on into their own independent tenancy with increased confidence and parenting skills to support long-term child development.
How the service works
On arrival individual needs are assessed and a support plan is co-produced with the parent and with their social worker or family support officer. After induction, parents have ongoing regular one-to-one support sessions with key workers to help them to develop independent living skills and social and parenting skills. The young mothers are signposted and supported to attend training sessions including Incredible Years (child development), Healthy Eating, Money Skills and the Freedom Programme (Safe Relationships and Self Esteem).
Working so closely with parents, our key workers are in the best position to highlight any need for additional support particular for the safety or welfare of a child. On those occasions where it is not possible for the mother to continue to parent, our key workers offer individual support to assist her in the necessary transition, helping her to create a separate but positive and healthy future for herself and the move to her own tenancy and independent living.
‘This is the first time my background has not stacked against me; everybody has been so supportive. If I hadn’t have been here, I don’t know where I would be’ (Comment from past resident)
During Advent 2020 one of our service residents volunteered to assist the Caritas Advent/Christmas fundraising campaign, sharing her story about how our service had supported her and her son. To view our video and listen to Rochelle’s story visit:
Our service is run very efficiently, with the cost of staff and facilities necessary to deliver person-centred approaches naturally representing the significant portion of the costs. Income from Housing Benefit is used support the cost however the service needs to raise £2,000 per week through our charitable fundraising to support the operation of this extra-ordinary service.
Testimonials from local professionals.
Public Health Nurse:
“A number of the Enhancing Families Team have worked with [Young Parents’ Accommodation – address withheld] for the last 10 years – previously in our roles as Family Nurses with the Family Nurse Partnership.
During this time we have all tried our best to get our clients a place at [YPA], this has been particularly important for those young mum’s who have had no real support within the family home.
I myself currently have a client there and another who I am hoping will get a place there shortly.
As a practitioner who only works with vulnerable families, I cannot thank this nurturing, supportive home environment enough for the way they facilitate growth in these clients. Many of my clients initially report reluctance to accept a place, excitement to leave and then wish they could go back once this wears off! They cite being at [YPA] a real turning point for their ability to cope with life skills.
If we could clone the staff and the way that they nurture mums and their babies, and make it 100 beds – we would!
I could write pages and pages of compliments about how they safeguard and support our most vulnerable families and enable the best outcome for babies.”
Public Health Nurse:
I would like to share how much I enjoy and value working with you and all the staff at [YPA – address withheld].
I have worked in the community for a number of years as a midwife, Family Nurse, Family Nurse Supervisor and most recently as part of the Enhancing Families Team. During this time I have worked particularly closely with Caritas [YPA]. I cannot speak highly enough of the work that the…mother & baby have done with the young mothers and their babies. They have supported some of the most vulnerable young mothers and their babies. They have also been hugely important in offering support and advice with the emotional side to being a young mum, coping with a new baby and the changes it brings to their lives; along with more practical support with things like housing and benefits.
The relationships that the young mothers make with all the [YPA] staff are hugely important and often the mother & baby unit is integral to the safeguarding of these vulnerable children and young women.
The biggest impact of [YPA] mother & baby unit has been the support of relationship with the young mum and their baby which has meant that they ensured the young mother focused on safeguarding their baby as a priority, any concerns are addressed quickly in a non-judgemental way. Without this, many young mothers would not have coped. Often these young mothers have not had positive role models at home to support them and felt intimidated and judged. Without the support of [YPA] they just would not have coped and I am certain that a number of babies may have ended up in the social care system.
[YPA] provides an essential service and home for some of the most vulnerable in our society and provides these young mothers and their babies a consistent, safe, supportive, empowering and nurturing home in which to develop skills to become independent and move on safely into their own homes”