Oasis PACS Program - Supporting Struggling Parents

May 20th, 2024 4 minute read

PACS

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A hand broken in two places through fighting and repeated outbursts. Ross was struggling. Leanne, Ross’s Mum, felt alone and overwhelmed. “Ross has some physical health issues, and it affects his day-to-day life. He found getting to school difficult and I struggled with his behaviour. His school were not happy with his attendance and lateness, and I found the phone calls and truancy letters from school very distressing at a time that I was already struggling” she says.

Leanne was referred to our Oasis Parent and Carer Support Programme (PACS) — and everything changed. Launched in early October last year in collaboration with Greater Manchester’s Violence Reduction Unit (VRU), the Oasis PACS Programme exists to support parents and carers in Greater Manchester who are worried that their children may be involved in violence, crime, or at risk of exploitation.

The programme provides 1:1 support for parents with family support workers who offer advice, advocacy, emotional support, therapeutic training, bespoke action plans and connections to other organisations who can help with specific needs.

“Chris from the Navigators taught Ross how to regulate his emotions which stopped all the anger and getting into fights. Since I’ve been working with the PACS team, Ross is doing really well in school. It feels like a big turnaround” says Leanne. “A member of the PACS team attended a school meeting with me and with that support I was able to air my concern about the truancy letters I had been receiving. The school issued these letters without any detail and they just looked terrifying. After the meeting the attendance team at the school actually apologised for the content of those letters and it felt like a weight had lifted.”

A large part of the programme involves building community with other parents and wider support groups so that parents know they are not alone. “The community we have built has been transformative for our parents” says Hannah Barton, Oasis PACS-Project Coordinator. “We are looking to increase our peer-to-peer offer with localised support groups, enriching group activity days and expert-led sessions. These sessions will focus on the key concerns aired by parents and carers, such as neurodiversity, education, and the law”.

Leanne says, “I don’t feel like I’m on my own now. I feel supported by the PACS team. I know I can text or call and I feel I can deal with situations. Ross is easier to deal with and home feels calmer”. In fact, “I feel I have more options now. And I feel like I could help other parents going through something similar.”

Our PACS programme has already conducted 113 one-to-one sessions with parents in Greater Manchester (as of 1st Mar 2024), resulting in signposting to other services, counselling, and Oasis Encounter support. As a result, one headteacher described PACS as ‘working wonders’ for his school. One parent who had not left the house for a year after her son’s death received counselling sessions. After four weeks she reported that she had been out shopping, opened her curtains, and was happy with her progress.

Whilst our PACS programme is still in its early stages, we are very pleased with our results so far. Building community is at the heart of our programme as we continue to support parents across Greater Manchester.

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