We are delighted to be recruiting two For Baby’s Sake Therapeutic Practitioners (closing 12 October)

We are recruiting two For Baby’s Sake Therapeutic Practitioners to deliver For Baby’s Sake, one in each of the well-established teams working across the Eastern region which includes Hertfordshire & Bedfordshire and the London & Southern team. The post will be home based with some elements of hybrid working.

The position is full-time on a permanent contract. Full details, including the job description, person specification and background briefing information can be found in the relevant attachments. There will be an expectation of occasional travel to Stevenage or London.

For an opportunity to discuss this vacancy informally, please contact either: Judith Rees, Director of Operations, The For Baby’s Sake Trust at judithrees@forbabyssake.org.uk 07718247663 or for the Eastern Region team Brenda Evans, Therapeutic Lead & Team Manager at brendaevans@forbabyssake.org.uk on 07702538068 or for the London & South team at ronniestockton@forbabyssake.org.uk on 07718578438.

For further details and to apply please visit CharityJob

Read More

Welcoming Lauren Seager-Smith as CEO of The For Baby’s Sake Trust

We are delighted to welcome Lauren Seager-Smith as our new CEO.  Lauren was previously Chief Executive at Kidscape, the charity that provides help with bullying.  She joined The For Baby’s Sake Trust on 9 May.  Lauren has a great range of skills and experience and a trauma-informed, whole-family ethos.  

Lauren Seager-Smith said:

“I am delighted to be taking up the role of CEO of The For Baby’s Sake Trust.  I’ve worked with children and families for over twenty years, and there is nothing more important than the relationships we have with others – whether at home, school, or in the wider community.

As a parent myself, I understand how our history and our stories impact how we care and relate to others, and we all need support on the journey. It will be a privilege to lead a team providing innovative, trauma-informed support to families.  The services that The For Baby’s Sake Trust provides have the potential not only to transform the lives of the babies and families directly supported, but generations to follow. “

Dame Lin Homer, Chair of Trustees, said

“We are looking forward to welcoming Lauren Seager-Smith as CEO of The For Baby’s Sake Trust.  Lauren is a highly respected charity leader, bringing skills and experience for the next phase of our journey, including income generation and organisational growth, along with passionate commitment and transferrable experience of improving lives for children and families.

Dame Lin added,

“The appointment of Lauren Seager-Smith as CEO also enables Amanda McIntyre to move into a vital new role as Deputy CEO, focused on the next phase of building and sharing our evidence about what works, to support the expansion of For Baby’s Sake and influence wider practice, policy and systems.”

Read More

The For Baby’s Sake Trust is recruiting two new Fundraisers

The For Baby’s Sake Trust is looking to recruit two full time fundraisers, a Trust Fundraiser and a Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser, these fundraising roles will be pivotal to the next phase of our development as an innovative and evidence-based charity.

Our work enables parents to break cycles of domestic abuse and give their baby the best start in life, especially when the parents did not have that themselves. We work directly with families through our ground-breaking programme, For Baby’s Sake, and we share resources and learning from our ways of working. 

Corporate Partnerships Fundraiser

The successful candidate will have a proven track record of identifying, securing, and developing partnerships from businesses. 

  • Ability to identify, secure and develop the support of key prospects generating new business through researching and prospecting new business supporters 
  • Able to maximise the potential for relationships by using the full range of fundraising mechanisms available, including developing the charity’s use of sponsorship and cause-related marketing 
  • Understand importance of accurate budgeting, forecasting and analysis and ensure targets are achieved, monitoring activity and progress against KPIs. 
  • Maintain and develop good relationships with staff, fundraising volunteers, and other key stakeholder groups in order to increase the success of fundraising initiatives 

Trust Fundraiser

The successful candidate will have a proven track record of successful applications to Trusts and the ability to prepare a compelling case for support matched to the criteria of the awarding Trust. 

  • Able to write persuasive reports with strong story telling elements 
  • Understanding of importance of building relationships with potential funders 
  • Ability to work to financial targets, forecasting and budgets 
  • Understanding of and ability to work with target driven outcomes 
  • Excellent research and analytical skills 

For more details on these roles and how to apply please visit CharityJob

Read More

Safer Beginnings films feature For Baby’s Sake and our Emotional Safety Plan tool to improve maternal and birth outcomes

The For Baby’s Sake Trust is launching a tool, called an Emotional Safety Plan, which expectant parents (and family, friends and birth companions) can use to record what they need to feel emotionally safe before, during and after birth.  We created this in partnership with Safer Beginnings, a programme of work to enable, educate and support people on birth journeys. 

Safer Beginnings, led by Best Beginnings and White Ribbon Alliance UK and supported by The For Baby’s Sake Trust and 17 other delivery partners, aims to enable healthcare workers to deliver trauma-informed care and to educate and empower expectant parents to have self-agency and receive the support they want and need.

Judith Rees, Director of Operations at The For Baby’s Sake Trust, said

“The For Baby’s Sake Trust is delighted to have played a major role within Safer Beginnings and to have worked closely with Best Beginnings, White Ribbon Alliance UK and the other partners in the creation of new trauma-informed materials, including films.”

One of the films is an animation explaining the Emotional Safety Plan. Judith Rees, Director of Operations at the For Baby’s Sake Trust, said:

‘The Emotional Safety Plan tool is for anyone preparing for the birth of a baby. You can use it to record what you may need to feel safe emotionally and how midwives and other professionals can be supportive by their words, actions and making sure you feel heard.  It is especially useful for those who have had difficult or traumatic experiences in the past, or on the way to becoming a parent.’

A further suite of Safer Beginnings films encourage expectant and new parents to reach out for support if they are experiencing domestic abuse or using abusive behaviour. 

As the domestic abuse lead partner in Safer Beginnings, The For Baby’s Sake Trust has played a major role in these films. They include Nicole Thangarajah, For Baby’s Sake Practitioner, alongside Judith Rees, explaining the signs of domestic abuse, the motivations for mothers and fathers to seek support and how services can respond to help them make changes for themselves and their baby and keep everyone safe. 

The films are especially powerful through the contributions of parents who have reached out for support. Judith Rees said: 

“We are grateful to the parents who have shared their inspirational personal stories of reaching out to For Baby’s Sake, in order to encourage other expectant parents to seek support if they are experiencing domestic abuse or using abusive behaviours.” 

One mother who had experienced controlling behaviours through domestic abuse describes how she felt empowered and in control in her birth journey through the support she received. 

One father describes how he broke an entrenched intergenerational cycle of abusive behaviour and childhood trauma, built strong bonds with his babies and rebuilt a positive co-parenting relationship with his ex-partner through him and his co-parent both being supported by For Baby’s Sake.

The Emotional Safety Plan tool and the domestic abuse films can be accessed through thetools and resources that can support you’ section of our website. They are also available through the Baby Buddy app and the The Safer Beginnings section of the Best Beginnings website has more information about initiative. This includes further resources and information about events in March for people on maternity journeys, charities, health care professionals and educators.

Read More

Children’s Commissioner calls for outcomes framework for children and families, citing joint work by Kindred Squared and The For Baby’s Sake Trust

On 15 December 2022, Dame Rachel de Souza, the Children’s Commissioner, published ‘A positive approach to parenting: Part 2 of the Independent Family Review.  The Children’s Commissioner wants the review to achieve a ‘paradigm shift’ which would ‘put strong and loving families front and centre of our politics and policy making’ and help to change attitudes and overcome barriers to parents receiving the support they want and need.

Alongside the review, the Children’s Commissioner published three reform guides ‘addressing some of the thorniest issues when it comes to reforming and integrating different public services.’

One of these guides is the Outcomes framework: Annex to a positive approach to parenting: Part 2 of the independent Family Review’.

To inform this work, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner drew heavily on the joint report by Kindred Squared and The For Baby’s Sake Trust, Children and families: towards a core outcome framework and the discussions that The For Baby’s Sake Trust, Kindred Squared and the Early Intervention Foundation had been convening with multi-agency and multi-disciplinary professionals on this theme of common outcomes.

Building on this work to produce their report, the Office of the Children’s Commissioner (CCo) convened a workshop with over 50 professionals from different services to hear presentations (including from the Trust’s Director of Strategic Partnerships), share challenges, expertise and best practice.  The CCo also drew on best practice in how to go about creating an outcomes framework, including the learning from creating the Core Outcome Set for domestic abuse services for children and families (where The For Baby’s Sake Trust had been a co-instigator and remains on the steering group).

The CCo ‘Outcomes Framework’ guide explains: ‘A high-level outcomes framework which is seeking positive outcomes for children and families is vital. Too often, services are working in siloes, working to different objectives based on their work with an individual, rather than seeing the family as a whole. This can mean too many families and children fall through the gaps in provision and struggle to support each other effectively.’

In response, the CCO propose the creation of a high-level outcomes framework, set out in the diagram below, which can be adopted by all services at a national, local and individual level.

This framework resonates with what children, parents and families have been telling the Children’s Commissioner, including through ‘The Big Ask’ and contributions to the Independent Family Review.

The Outcomes Framework guide includes important findings from correlating the data that the CCo gathered from The Big Ask, about children’s happiness with different aspects of life.  This included the finding that children who were happy with their family life were three times more likely to say they were happy with their mental health.

The CCO recommends that the outcomes framework should be easily accessible with the detail of how the outcomes might be achieved – possible indicators and metrics – sitting below the outcomes.

The Children’s Commissioner recommends a task-and-finish group to provide high level guidance on the application of outcomes frameworks across the public sector, suggesting that this group’s considerations should include:

  • A common set of definitions
  • Clarity that an outcome should be a positive and tangible difference to the lives of a person or group of people
  • A plan to improve the use of outcome metrics which can accurately capture tangible improvements in the situation of children and families, drawing on existing work to develop metrics around child wellbeing, domestic violence, reducing parental conflict, and consider how their take-up could be encouraged in relation to the Supporting Families outcomes framework, the Start for Life outcomes framework and children’s social care outcomes.

 The For Baby’s Sake Trust warmly welcomes the report and recommendations of the Children’s Commissioner, which recognises how an effective outcomes framework can drive system change. It is positive to see the joint emphasis on family outcomes and children’s outcomes, alongside recognition of the role of parents and the importance of empowering them.  We particularly encourage a whole-family approach, recognising of course, as articulated by the Children’s Commissioner, that ‘family comes in many forms’ and  ‘while the composition of families may change, their importance does not’.

 

Read More

Stelio Stefanou, our Founder, hands over Trust Chair to Dame Lin Homer after 14 years of visionary leadership

Our Founding Chairman, Stelio Stefanou OBE, DL, stepped down from The For Baby’s Sake Trust Board at the end of the Trustees’ Board meeting on 8 December 2022.  Dame Lin Homer is now Chair and Adam Shutkever is Vice Chair.

Stelio Stefanou established the charity in 2008 with a vision to protect and improve the life-chances of babies who are at risk and unable to tell others. Evidence about the scale of domestic abuse, and about how babies are particularly affected, led Stelio and the charity to focus on empowering parents to break cycles of domestic abuse and give their baby the best start.

Alongside an extraordinary philanthropic commitment, Stelio’s visionary leadership has been central to the Trust’s achievements in the past 14 years.  Shaped by Stelio’s determination to tackle root causes, his commitment to cross-sectoral partnership working and the values he instilled, the charity created For Baby’s Sake to work with both parents and the whole family. The academic team evaluating For Baby’s Sake found it to be the first known programme to overcome existing limitations of whole-family responses to domestic abuse.

Stelio’s innovative flair was also instrumental to the creation of the nationally-available For Baby’s Sake CONNECT delivery channel, quickly spotting that positive experience of delivering the programme through video and audio calls during lockdown meant that a team could work with families living anywhere in the country.

During his tenure chairing the charity, Stelio was appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Hertfordshire. In 2016/17, he served as High Sheriff of Hertfordshire and during that year found creative ways to further cross-sectoral partnerships and relationships, notably to enable the courts and other agencies to build mutual understanding and develop Hertfordshire’s response to domestic abuse.

Mindful that succession planning is vital for all charities, Stelio concluded that the time was right in 2022 to step down from the Board, as the Trust moves into the next phase of its development.

In stepping down, Stelio paid tribute to the value of everyone’s contribution and the power of the team effort, which he credited for “making For Baby’s Sake such a powerful tool for tackling domestic abuse and intergenerational trauma”.  Addressing trustees, senior leadership and all our teams, Stelio said: 

“It has been such an enormous privilege to work with so many people who are all intent on doing the right thing with an open heart.  I know you will go from strength to strength – because those babies and parents need you. Through your work, you really are making the world a better place.”

On taking as Chair of the Board of Trustees, Dame Lin said: 

“The Board and staff are deeply grateful to Stelio Stefanou for his vision, innovation, commitment, generous philanthropy, strategic wisdom and leadership, which have brought the Charity successfully to this point, and are grateful that he will continue to be a valued and important supporter of the Charity.” 

Addressing Stelio, Dame Lin added:

“Stelio, since first meeting you decades ago across a negotiating table, I have always found you ambitious for people, fearless, honest and full of humanity.  You inspire me with hope for the future.”

 

Read More

For Baby’s Sake wins major national safeguarding award

We are delighted to share the news that, on 24 November 2022, For Baby’s Sake and our partnership with Blackpool Better Start won the Safeguarding Award at the prestigious Children and Young People Now awards.

This award is for the initiative nationally that is making the biggest contribution to keeping children and young people safe from harm.  Judges looked for exceptional teamwork and multi-agency working.  They highlighted the whole-family outcomes achieved through For Baby’s Sake and our partnership with Blackpool Better Start.  The judges praised how For Baby’s Sake Practitioners work therapeutically with both parents, starting in pregnancy, to empower parents to break the cycle of domestic abuse, develop skills for resilience and give their baby the best start in life, especially when they did not have that themselves.

Thank you to Blackpool Better Start for nominating the Blackpool For Baby’s Sake Team, in recognition of the impact of For Baby’s Sake on the families participating in the programme and on wider professional practice and systems, including for engaging fathers and improving support and outcomes for care-experienced families.

It was perfect timing to win the award on the eve of global 16 Days of Activism against domestic and gender-based violence and celebrate the For Baby’s Sake model of whole-family safeguarding and breaking intergenerational cycles of domestic abuse. 

This award comes less than a year after the Centre for Justice Innovation awarded For Baby’s Sake the Nick Crichton Award for Family Justice, with judges praising our innovative whole-family model.

Read More

Blackpool Better Start and Blackpool For Baby’s Sake empower parents to drive system change for parents and babies born into care

The annual Blackpool Better Start conference on 13 October 2022 featured a powerful workshop on Blackpool’s contribution and response to the ‘Born into Care’ initiative to drive system change for parents and babies when the state intervenes to remove babies at birth.

Blackpool has had one of the highest rates in the country of babies being removed from their parents’ care at birth, owing to safeguarding concerns. In 2017 one child in every 46 births was born into care, compared with, say, the London borough of Richmond on Thames, where the figure was one child in 813 births.

This statistic, alongside the strong commitment in Blackpool, delivered through the Better Start Partnership, to transform the life chances of babies and empower parents and families, led Blackpool to play a leading role in a ‘Born Into Care’ initiative.

Nationally, ‘Born into Care’, a collaborative project led by Lancaster University, The Rees Centre at Oxford University and the Nuffield Family Justice Observatory has been understanding the scale and impact of babies being born into care, from the perspectives of parents as well as professionals, with the conclusion that national guidance is required to introduce more sensitive and humane practice when the state intervenes at birth.  The complexities and sensitivities led the researchers to produce draft guidelines to be piloted with partner research sites in England and Wales.

Blackpool is one of the partner sites which contributed to the research and has been playing a leading role, through an innovative co-production approach, in responding to the draft guidance.

Two co-production groups were established in Blackpool – one for mothers and one for fathers – and each also involving professionals such as midwives, social workers and specialist service providers.  The Blackpool For Baby’s Sake team were involved in both and were instrumental in particular to the success of the fathers’ co-production group, with most of the fathers in the group also being fathers who were participating in For Baby’s Sake.

All those involved were acutely aware of the sensitivities of bringing together parents with lived experience of their babies having been removed at birth and professionals such as social workers who represented those who had made the decisions about their baby’s removal.

Creative and trauma-informed approaches were used to build trust and understanding between the parents and professionals, to establish the principle that everyone around the table was equal and to demonstrate that success hinged on everyone feeling heard and valued.  Before getting round the table, more informal social events were organised to build those relationships, even including a trip for the fathers and professionals in the fathers’ group to a local boxing club.

The story of this extraordinary co-production is best told by the parents and professionals who took part and they have made a film, Born into Care – Blackpool, which you can watch here

As one of the For Baby’s Sake Practitioners says in the film: ‘lived experience is one of the best resources you’ll ever get.’

The film identifies principles, based on learning constructively from the past and what needed to change and also based on best practice from services currently operating in Blackpool, including For Baby’s Sake. 

The contributions from the For Baby’s Sake Blackpool team and parents who are engaging with For Baby’s Sakehighlight the importance of being trauma-informed and strengths-based. For Baby’s Sake is especially designed to meet the needs of parents with unresolved past trauma.  When that unresolved trauma arises from the parents having been taken into care, or having had a baby previously removed, this can be especially triggering when those parents become parents again and prepare for the birth of their baby.

One mother reflects on her relationship with her For Baby’s Sake Practitioner:  ‘she supported me and listened and was there from the get-go for who I was at that time and not who I used to be’.

Being trauma-informed is at the heart of Blackpool Better Start and this shared commitment is at the core of the strong partnership between The For Baby’s Sake Trust and our Blackpool Better Start partners. The essential requirement to be authentically trauma-informed is a key recommendation from Blackpool to all those with a role to play, locally and nationally, in implementing the guidance and driving system change to avoid and reduce the incidence and impact of babies being born into care.

As one of the For Baby’s Sake Practitioners says in the film

‘You can say you are a trauma-informed service but unless you offer a really authentic response to that trauma and you understand that underpinning all of the challenges, all of the difficult behaviours and the risks that you are concerned about, unless you understand that trauma is at the root of that, you aren’t going to get very far’.

The film is full of practical recommendations to support parents, starting in pregnancy, when they have previously had babies removed or are on a journey to their baby certainly or possibly being removed at birth. These include planning ahead, providing clarity, being inclusive to fathers and understanding and responding to the feelings of parents.  As a member of the For Baby’s Sake Blackpool team says, ‘the answers have come from the lived experiences of the parent….we have to listen to their voice’.

To watch the Born into Care – Blackpool film, click here

To watch the workshop at the Blackpool Better Start conference, including the film plus presentations from Claire Mason, Research Fellow at Lancaster University and Pauline Wigglesworth, Co-produced Research and Transformation Lead at Blackpool Council, click here

Read More

For Baby’s Sake referenced in national safeguarding guidance, highlighting whole family response and work with fathers

For Baby’s Sake was chosen by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel as one of four programmes nationally to highlight in a report identifying good practice on multi-agency safeguarding in relation to domestic abuse.

The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel was set up by the Government to conduct national reviews of serious child safeguarding cases and to publish thematic guidance and learning.

Its report, ‘Multi-agency safeguarding and domestic abuse briefing paper published on 29 September 2022, sets out common themes emerging from serious case reviews, as well as from learning from evidence and stakeholder feedback on effective practice.

The report identifies four core practice principles that should underpin practice approaches when working with children and young people, their parents, wider families and networks in relation to domestic abuse.  As the diagram below indicates, these principles are recognised as interlinked and interdependent.

 

Logo Description automatically generated with medium confidence

Diagram Description automatically generated

The report’s authors met the Senior Leadership Team of The For Baby’s Sake Trust and had discussions with Team Managers or Practitioners across all our For Baby’s Sake sites to help identify the core practice principles and how they are interconnected.

The report’s information about For Baby’s Sake (see page 20 of the report) quotes evidence from the King’s College London evaluation that connects well with the Panel’s recommended core practice principles.

The Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel report’s authors highlighted a key learning from their own research into our programme, that ‘For Baby’s Sake is a whole-family programme, integrating work with fathers and giving them a voice within the safeguarding system that otherwise may not be sought or heard’.  This is significant in the context of growing recognition of the need to strengthen engagement with fathers within safeguarding.

This briefing report is the second publication by the Child Safeguarding Practice Review Panel to make a reference to For Baby’s Sake and to draw on learning from our ways of working.  In September 2021, the Panel published ‘The Myth of Invisible Men: safeguarding children under 1 from non-accidental injury caused by male carers’. In their foreword to the report, the authors said, Safeguarding practice with fathers of young children is something of a paradox. Despite evidence suggesting some men are very dangerous, service design and practice tends to render fathers invisible and generally ‘out of sight’. The report’s title: ‘The Myth of Invisible Men’ reflects our resolve to get behind this paradox so that work with fathers might become less ambiguous and more effective.”

The For Baby’s Sake Trust’s Director of Operations and Independent Safeguarding Advisor both contributed to the report, through being interviewed and attending round-table discussions, to help identify effective practice, drawing on the ways of working within For Baby’s Sake.  This report cited For Baby’s Sake as one of very few programmes nationally working with fathers in ways that specifically incorporated the safeguarding and support needs of babies

Read More

Sign up to our mailing list

Subscribe for updates, insights and news from The For Baby’s Sake Trust, sent direct to your inbox.