Mellow Futures – an adapted parenting programme for mothers with learning difficulties in England and Scotland. Professionals’ views on the outcomes

Beth Tarleton*, Pauline Heslop

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

Abstract

The Mellow Futures programme is a specially adapted parenting programme for mothers with learning difficulties that combines group work with home-based support. This paper reports on the findings of prospective and retrospective interviews with professionals who had referred mothers to the programme in England or Scotland between 2013 and 2015. The aim was to explore their perceptions of the programme as a whole, and its impact on the mothers they had referred to it. Mothers attending the Mellow Futures programme were invited to consent for a key professional to be contacted as part of the evaluation, generally those social workers who had referred the mothers to the programme. The ‘referrers’ were interviewed at the start and end of the programme. Thirty referrers contributed their views on the impact of the programme. Twenty-six were very positive about the impact of the Mellow Futures programme on the mothers: the programme was thought to have increased the mothers’ confidence and self-esteem; supported them to work through issues; and helped them strengthen their relationship-building skills. Four referrers felt that the programme had not had any impact on the mothers they were supporting. The Mellow Futures programme focused on relationships, rather than parenting techniques, and three fundamentally important relationships in the mothers and babies’ lives were targeted: the relationship/attachment between mother and baby; the supportive, on-going relationships between the mothers in the group; and the mothers’ more positive engagement with the professionals concerned with the welfare of their baby. The research confirms that, from the perspectives of referrers, linking group and home-based support can successfully help mothers with learning difficulties to care for their children.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Early online date18 Sep 2020
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Sep 2020

Structured keywords

  • SPS Norah Fry Centre for Disability Studies

Keywords

  • Child welfare
  • Parents with learning difficulties
  • Parenting programmes

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