Adapted Cedar support methods
– December 2020
Since the outbreak of COVID-19 and beginning of lockdown restrictions, local Cedar Projects across Scotland have adapted and redesigned their services to ensure they are safe, resilient and effective during the pandemic. Local Cedar Projects have creatively adapted their work to support children, young people and their mothers, and have provided virtual support to families in the absence of being able to deliver Cedar’s ‘gold standard’ recovery groupwork. Our final blog in the series takes a look at three case studies of these adapted methods of support.
Edinburgh – Online recovery groupwork
“During COVID-19 we have worked efficiently and effectively in adapting the programme to suit an online platform with results that we can be proud of. Any adaptation of Cedar to fit within current restrictions isn’t the gold standard Cedar that we would all want CYP and mums to be receiving, however, the feedback and outcomes for women and children has been very positive.”
Edinburgh Cedar have adapted the Cedar model for online sessions for mothers and children’s groups. Mothers and children have a face-to-face initial assessment meeting in-person (within restrictions), and there are also virtual 1-1 sessions with coordinators prior to beginning the online groups. Mothers and children and young people are provided with activities and information sheets as outlined in the Cedar manual, and children and young people are sent arts and crafts materials to use during the sessions. The groups are run with a smaller number of participants than in-person groups. There has been positive feedback from mothers and children on the sessions. Coordinators have noted that peer support has developed very well online and they are pleased to be able to offer a space for this support during such isolating times for mothers and children and young people. The online method does not replace the support in in-person group sessions, however Coordinators noted that some mothers have been able to participate online who would not have been available had the sessions been in-person.
Fife – 1-1 support with mothers and children
“We had to adapt our programme quickly to help women and children who had experienced domestic abuse. The support from recovery services was desperately needed.”
After a period of closure during lockdown, Fife Cedar arranged to offer face-to-face family support for mothers with their children, based on the Cedar model. . The sessions took place over a six-week period, following the ethos of Cedar: keeping the child at the centre of the support whilst helping the mother to support her child with their feelings and emotions and understanding of the abuse, and strengthening the relationship between mother and child. The Cedar session plans were adapted in order to work with the mother and child in a family setting. Coordinators have noted that peer support is lost in this method, which clearly had an impact on the sessions. However, the building of the mother-child relationship has worked very well and the sessions were adapted to support families’ individual needs. After reviewing the pilot, the Project decided to add more sessions to incorporate some sessions for mothers only as it was felt that this would provide mothers with a separate space for discussion. The Project felt that the sessions were able to balance adhering to COVID-19 restrictions whilst being able to support women and children to move on from their experiences of domestic abuse. A successful block of family work ran between Sept-Nov 2020. Fife Cedar has had to put a hold on face-to-face work at present due to a rise in the prevalence of COVID-19 in Fife.
Scottish Borders – In-person socially-distanced groupwork and 1-1 support
“Adapting Cedar in these unprecedented times has been a challenge, but one that we have successfully managed. Overall, the adaptation has been far more successful than anticipated.”
In line with national and local guidelines, a socially-distanced mother’s group was organised and ran for nine weeks. The mother’s group has been an overwhelming success, with the mums appearing to connect and build a rapport quickly compared to previous groups. This may be due to months of lockdown and also the understanding that emotional communication is key when physical distance is in place. Alongside this, children completed the programme on a 1-1 basis in schools. These 1-1 sessions have afforded rich and quality work to be completed with the children. It has allowed the children to process the key messages of the programme in-depth and take time to understand how they feel. The main challenges noted by the coordinator has been the loss of peer support for Cedar mums and children, and the capacity of the coordinator to deliver these support methods within very restricted circumstances, e.g., only being allowed to visit one school per day. This greatly reduces how many families can complete the programme at any one time. Overall, the adaptation has been very successful in ensuring there is a way to deliver the programme, whatever happens in the future with COVID-19 restrictions.
This is the final blog in the series Children and young people: domestic abuse recovery and COVID-19. We hope that this series has provided useful insights and highlighted the experiences of of children, young people and their mothers who have been affected by domestic abuse.