The Children and Youth service is designed and dedicated to empower families to support children and young people who have sustained an acquired brain injury (ABI) throughout Northern Ireland.
We recognise that the whole family system is affected when a child or young person sustains an ABI. Our service works with the whole family unit to enable everyone to better manage the impact of ABI in daily life. Evidence-based practice forms the foundation of all our work.
Who can make a referral?
Anyone can make a referral to Children and Youth Services and we accept referrals from across Northern Ireland. Once a referral is received we will contact the family or referral agent directly to discuss the next steps. To make a referral please complete the children and youth referral form.
Activities will be provided regionally for children, young people and their families. These will provide fun activities and the opportunity to model and facilitate connection and interaction.
The benefits of the programme will consist of:
Developing social interaction skills
Encouraging activity outside the family unit
Encouraging activities for enjoyment
Promoting exercise for physical and psychological benefit
Promoting meaningful family, social interactions
Development of peer friendships
Identification of personal interests
Family Based Support
Our practitioners work alongside the child, young person and family unit to empower them to provide the appropriate support to their child with ABI. Tailored support takes place in the family home, local community or online via our Family First portal.
We work in partnership with parents/carers, children and siblings to ensure the family are equipped to take confident steps towards positive progress.
Support is tailored to meet the child, young person and families’ needs and may include:
Help families better understand ABI and its impact on the whole family
Explore ways to manage potential problems that might arise
Provide skills and strategies to equip families to problem solve
Support families to identify goals and work towards achieving them
Help families make gains through evidence-based support
Help keep families connected
Empower families to feel confident in supporting each other post childhood ABI
Workshops are run by children and youth service practitioners regionally to help connect families who have shared experiences of childhood ABI. We provide workshops for parents/carers, children with ABI and siblings involved in our service. These workshops are tailored to meet the specific needs of families.
This programme will educate and support young adults with ABI to become mentors to a group of 13-18 year olds with ABI. The peer mentoring scheme will be delivered in the Southern Trust Area in partnership with Southern Trust Community Brain Injury.
On Monday 10th May we welcomed over 100 people to our virtual conference "Developing Services for Children Living with Acquired Brain Injury: Good Practice, Opportunities and Challenges", delivered in partnership with Belfast Health & Social Care Trust with speakers including Health Minister Robin Swann and Interim Mental Health Champion Siobhán O’Neill.
To view a recording of the conference, please click on the links below.
Family First Portal
The Family First Portal provides families with a forum to connect with each other and with their Children and Youth Service practitioner.
Each family involved with the service will be given a unique login username and password which will grant them access to their individualised site.
Workshop materials will be made available on the Portal for any family that attended a workshop. Families can access a calendar reminding them of upcoming appointments or workshop dates.
Finally, the Portal includes a chat forum where parents can engage in conversations with each other on predetermined topics. There will be a user agreement which parents need to sign up to. The forum will be monitored for appropriate content by a Family First staff member.
This Portal can only be accessed by families engaged with the service.
Family First Summary Report
The following document provides a synopsis of the Family First project’s achievements and highlights the considerable difference made to the lives of over 200 people impacted by ABI, the contribution to service provision and the capacity building in education and health services.
Five Year Evaluation Report
authored by Dr Chris McCusker, Vice Head of School; Director, Doctorate in Clinical Psychology, University College Cork