The success of Iceni has largely been based on our ability to provide appropriate interventions in a flexible and adaptive manner, based on individual needs assessments, and balancing the requirements of referring agencies including social care. By providing a range of support, from untried through to evidence-based programmes that address the psychological, social, economic and physical needs of the whole family, we address the unmet and generational need that is entrenched in neighbourhoods in Ipswich and Suffolk.
As well as being proficient in their chosen field, our staff coordinate and support families through an integrated range of interventions available within our fully equipped Family Hub in Ipswich.
We offer a one-stop approach to working with substance misuse and its related issues within the family, liaising with partner agencies where appropriate, including prescribing agencies, the criminal justice system, social care and mental health. Integrating so many interventions under one roof will facilitate a smoother and more realistic experience for families where most appointments may be held in one agency. This will lessen the impact of missed appointments and begin to provide the antithesis of a chaotic lifestyle.
Our work can be challenging and not without risks. Without compromising safeguarding, the ‘rule book’ for engagement with complex and chaotic families is sometimes left on the shelf to ensure effective and long-lasting outcomes. Being an organisation willing to take risks, to be willing to experiment with new approaches and not being afraid to fail are also pointers to how Iceni has developed and flourished. Our service is different because:
To achieve our outcomes we have designed a programme that is aimed at tackling entrenched societal problems and inequalities rather than simply dealing with symptoms. The philosophy of Iceni’s programme goes much further than prevention. It is about breaking the intergenerational cycle of addiction and associated social distresses within families and our communities. It is designed to help those who will raise the next generation of children, rather than applying sticking plasters to today’s problems.
Our approach offers a real opportunity to make lasting improvements in the lives of our children, to end their transmission from one generation to the next, and to make long-term savings in public spending. Longer term we want today’s children to become good parents to their own children.
Our evidence and experience clearly shows that families or individuals who have problems with substance misuse present a variety of extenuating issues, either pertaining to or underpinning their addiction. These may have been instigated by early sexual abuse/neglect and other dysfunctional childhood factors, but be perpetuated by the consequences of their substance use; this may include mental illness, dysfunctional parenting, poverty/debt, physical illness (Inc hepatitis and other drug-related illness), depression and anxiety. Our priority is to provide support at the earliest opportunity by concentrating on the above issues.
Iceni’s reputation for good practice and successful outcomes within drug treatment has been built on a solid foundation of a non-judgmental and client-centred ethos. We believe this approach forms the core of both challenging and robust relationships, thus forming the catalyst for a person’s propensity to change.
We also firmly believe that addiction, especially within families, is a highly complex and challenging phenomena that requires flexible working practices. To this end, we utilise evidence bases derived from medical, social and psychological models of care. Iceni have never been afraid to circumvent traditional approaches and techniques to achieve successful outcomes for the families and communities of Ipswich.
The aim is to reduce vulnerability and isolation and to increase life chances, whilst also reducing the need for a range of health and welfare services over the course of a child’s life. By putting the needs of children and families first, we provide a service that makes more sense to the parents and children and young people using it, for whom professional boundaries can appear arbitrary and frustrating. By locating services under one roof it negates the need for families to navigate ‘systems’ that often sees them having to visit a number of services to receive support.
Managing relationships and sustaining contact with families through early, prolonged or repeated concerns may present real challenges; however, prior investment in building relationships makes it easier to address problems when they do arise or prevent them from arising.
Most families will experience difficulties or frustrations in areas of their lives at one time or another. Family circumstances can change suddenly and dramatically, whilst for some families, conflict, fragility or pressure may be more sustained. If Iceni family workers understand parents’ concerns and family circumstances, then we will find it easier to build relationships.
Below are some of the general principles we follow when building relationships with families.
• People generally want things to get better – that includes parents, professionals and children.
• Everyone has a wealth of resources within them and around them – that includes parents, professionals, local communities and children.
• There are always exceptions to the ‘problem’ – look for what is good and what works.
• The ‘problem’ is the problem – not the parent, or the child, or the professional.
• Use families’ own view of what will work; let them tell us of the exceptions.
• Change is inevitable and happens all the time – things can get better, circumstances and needs can change.
• Big problems don’t always need big solutions.
• Understanding the cause of the problem is not always necessary if you can find a way forward.
• If it works, do more of it; if it doesn’t, try something different.
To learn more about Iceni’s work, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today or read our mission statement.