Frankie Worker: A lot happens for a child in two years
The Frankie Project counselling is quite unique in that we work with young people alongside other agencies including the Police, Children’s services and Sexual Abuse Recovery Centre (SARC) to support them throughout the process of recovery from some form of sexual abuse or exploitation.
In the first two months since the launch of the Frankie Project we have found it best to engage with the child once they have given the Police video interview, to achieve best evidence and avoid any accusation of coaching or influence.
This usually takes place quite soon after the first disclosure so the child will now quickly get the support needed to deal with the many impacts and outcomes of these events which can prove equally traumatising as it affects family relationships, friendships and their environment.
Social services have referred to us both new and existing cases in large numbers, from the Multi-Agency Safeguarding Hub (MASH) team, Child In Need (CIN) 1, 2 & 3, Risk & Assessment (R&A), Child in Care (CIC) and the Willow team all keen to provide this level of support for their service users.
Recognising they are unable to provide therapeutic support themselves they have been frustrated by the lack of help available sometimes with Child and Adolescent’s Mental Health Service (CAMHS) being the only option.
I have attending several team meetings to promote the Frankie Worker project and have received numerous positive comments about the urgent need for our service.
People are impressed that we offer 18 sessions, more than most other services, that we are specially training and support the whole county.
With CAMHS being over-stretched already so many of our cases would not meet their criteria resulting in large numbers of young people “slipping through the cracks”!
Having worked in the social care industry for over twenty years in one guise or another, this excuse of slipping through the cracks is no longer good enough.
It’s been an all too easy excuse for lack of support, but these are innocent victims of heinous crimes with life long after affects including self-harm, depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, prostitution, child pornography, trafficking, crime and overall self-abuse.
These are just a few of the risks posed to young children without support after a traumatic event or period in their lives.
The longer a child goes without support the higher their chances of developing low self-esteem and risk taking behaviours.
With appropriate support these are dramatically reduced.
I imagine for many of these children their experience with Frankie will be only the first of many times they seek out therapy so my hope is if they find this to be a positive experience they are more likely to recognise their needs and seek help in the future rather than those who won’t ask through fear.
I am very proud to be a Frankie worker and spread the word about not just this service but also Young People’s Independent (YPI) Counselling with whom I volunteered for three years whilst training.
I have witnessed the emergence of our organisation as a local resource managed by a proactive, forward thinking and creative team providing new services and support across the ages, sexes and all other boundaries. We care for the residents of Hampshire.
When people ask what I do, I am happy to tell them all about my agency and to spread the word of how important, relevant and necessary we are in today’s society.