The Voice of the Child

When a family is affected by a mental health or substance misuse issue, who listens to the child? We talk to the nurse who supports families to get better together.

Chantelle Carey is an experienced paediatric nurse and Mersey Care’s Named Nurse for Safeguarding Children.

“Difficult times happen to us all, but sometimes the voice of the child gets lost. We need to support children and families to build resilience and have the skills to overcome a crisis together.”

Chantelle shares a case of a mum who was receiving care from one of Mersey Care’s community mental health teams.

“It emerged that her son’s behaviour was contributing to the problem. He was involved in crime, when she tried to talk to him he would become aggressive and she became anxious – it was clear they both needed help.”

A family support worker was allocated to work with the family. Mersey Care’s Early Intervention Team supported the son to manage his aggression and involved him in support groups and activities to help divert him away from crime.

“It doesn’t matter if we’re involved with the parent first, or the child – we always ‘Think Family’; how can we help the whole family? By getting involved early and listening to their lived experience we can offer support.”

It’s Everyone’s Business

Chantelle works closely with children’s agencies, including health and social care partners, sharing information about the child and family to give those helping them a better picture.

“People worry that telling someone will lead to the child being taken away, but speaking helps us identify what sort of support is needed “We never think of someone as a bad parent, we focus on the strengths of the family while identifying what they need early on to stop the situation escalating and becoming a crisis.

“We all have a duty to be the voice of the child – safeguarding really is everyone’s business.”