Glasgow infant mental health trial expands

Research looks at effectiveness of different support models for infants in care

Wednesday 12th June 2019

A Glasgow university research trial testing the effectiveness of an infant mental health service for children in care is to expand to Renfrewshire and four London boroughs.

BeST? compares the traditional approach to a new model, originally developed in New Orleans, that helps to determine when a child can return home safely.

The Glasgow Infant & Families Team (GIFT) uses a multi-disiplinary team of psychologists, psychiatrists and social work staff from the NHS, the NSPCC and Glasgow City health and social care partnership.

It uses an infant mental health perspective to assess and, where possible, offer treatment to parents and children who have been in care to strengthen parent-child interaction, instead of the traditional approach.

Children aged up to five who have been looked after by the council or placed in kinship can take part if their carers and parents consent.

When a parent consents to their child being included in the BeST? trial, the child is thereafter randomly allocated by the trial to a GIFT or the partnership’s usual service.

After the conclusion of the intervention, the trial team follows up with the children to measure outcomes.

These sessions take place 15 and 30 months after the child was taken into care, regardless of whether the child returns to the parent’s care or is still not living with the parent.