DDN May 2022 May 2022 | Page 9

SALLY ’ S STORY Sally ( 24 ) is mum to Daniel ( 3 ). Children ’ s social services were involved in the family due to concerns about Sally ’ s alcohol use . Sally had also experienced domestic abuse from Daniel ’ s father before Daniel was born . Sally had been in care as a child and found social work involvement with Daniel very difficult . Sally and Daniel ’ s social worker referred Sally to Oasis ’ POCAR programme . Sally had a dedicated keyworker , and Daniel would use the crèche whilst Sally attended appointments and groups . Sally told her keyworker she was scared that Daniel would not be able to live with her , that she had no other family support and felt lonely . Sally would drink to cope with her worries .
In POCAR Sally learnt new strategies to cope with stress and worry . Sally ’ s self-esteem grew which enabled her to re-connect with old friends . With support from her keyworker , Sally stopped drinking and children ’ s social services reduced their involvement . Sally completed POCAR and continued to use the crèche to give her opportunity to focus on her recovery . Sally is due to start therapy with Oasis to explore some of her past experiences of
trauma and build resilience for future . __________________________________________________________________
TAKING CONTROL ‘ I ' m now looking to the future and taking control of my life . It ’ s not been easy at all , and I have made some mistakes , but I ' m learning from them . I ' ve got a long way to go but I want to keep getting better and I ’ m willing to do whatever it takes to get there . I am slowly getting better , I ' ve just got to stick at it and trust the process . I have hope which Oasis has given to me . A massive thank you to my key worker , the Oasis staff , and all the women at Oasis . I wouldn ’ t be where I am today without you .’ Oasis service user
Childcare is a widely reported barrier for parents who need to access services , and Oasis provides a free crèche for any child affected by parental drug and alcohol use . The crèche is a therapeutic setting for children that recognises the importance of the child ' s voice , views , feelings , emotions , and personality , giving every child an opportunity for space to thrive . The crèche is also a vital resource for parents , providing the opportunity to participate in activities that support their recovery , including time in the day for themselves .
Oasis provides free arts-based
individual therapy for children and young people aged 5-18 years affected by a parent or family members ’ substance use . This service is restorative to children who have experienced abuse and neglect in their families and seeks to provide a safe space for their own recovery . It ’ s important that the needs of children and young people are considered within the context of substance misuse treatment , and the families ’ experience held in mind when working with parents . Parents who access Oasis Project tell us they value support being extended to their children .
It is through our specialist experience and dedication to working with women experiencing substance misuse and associated issues that we have been able to embed a responsive and trauma informed culture , practice and environment . Although necessary components , we consider gender responsive care extends beyond the provision of a women-only
space , or a women ’ s worker , but relies upon an ethos which prioritises understanding of and responsiveness to the intersectional and specific needs and structural challenges women experience . This requires an organisational and systemic commitment to working with the root causes of addiction such as trauma , and responding through approaches which enhance safety and empowerment to promote meaningful recovery .
The promise of increased funding for treatment services through Dame Carol Black ’ s report and the resulting government drug strategy is really welcomed at such a critical point . Our experience has taught us that to meet the needs of women , children , and families through substance misuse treatment providers , we need gender-responsive service provision , and opportunities for joint children and adult commissioning both locally and nationally . This is essential for breaking down silos and creating greater potential for family focused approaches .
Oasis Project has recently been accredited with the One Small Thing Silver Quality Mark for working with trauma .
Francesca Carpenter is head of client services and Laura Ward is CEO of Oasis Project