This blog comes from Katherine, Head of Therapy and Advocacy Services
We don’t always have all the answers and sometimes a fresh perspective makes all the difference. This is why Body & Soul set up the its Children and Family Advisory Group to provide external expert input into its response to the complex issues facing children, teenagers and families living with or affected by HIV.
The group consists of professionals such as social workers, psychotherapists and psychologists who have experience of and insight into areas of health, parenting, child protection, disability etc. The aim of the group is to advise rather than manage how we at Body & Soul support our members.
The fresh perspective of those on the outside of the organisation helps us to reflect on and evaluate our work and ensures the organisation strives to provide a high quality response.
The group meets every two months. Body & Soul service staff put forward individual cases to be discussed at each meeting. We discuss particularly complex cases where we are unsure how best to proceed or situations which are causing us particular concern.
Let’s give an idea of something we might discuss:
We’re noticing that some of our members, whose immigration status is uncertain and have no access to housing, are requiring surgery but the hospitals are saying that they cannot perform the operation when the person is going to be discharged into unsuitable accommodation.
This places the member in a housing/hospital loophole and trapped without being able to have the medical treatment they need. Body & Soul presented one such case to the Advisory Group and in the ensuing discussion people came up with the idea of checking if there was a hospital social work team who could assist and also to contact the MP.
Another example: we were concerned about one member’s ability to look after her children. We wanted to support her in her parenting and if possible avoid the need to refer the family to social services. The group came up with suggestions of agencies to refer mum and the children to as well as ideas of how further to support them within Body & Soul.
Amy Poehler says:
“As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.”
Thank you to everyone who continues to challenge and inspire us!