Young parents who are leaving the care of Local Authority Children’s Services can be supported by musical activities, research carried out by Bishop Grosseteste University’s (BGU) Dr Pat Beckley on behalf of soundLINCS suggests.
The report findings indicate that the support through music was highly beneficial, giving participants greater confidence and resilience to develop positive next steps for both themselves and their children.
Recent research identifies a cycle in which care leavers are more likely than their peers to become young parents, and also more likely to have their children placed into Local Authority care or adoption. The ‘Groove and Grow’ project examined music making as an approach to break the cycle.
‘Groove and Grow’ is a soundLINCS initiative to support vulnerable young parents and those leaving care. The project supported young parents in gaining peer support, accessing community services and promoted personal, social and emotional development for them and their children.
The study involved providing creative musical sessions in the young parents’ homes or supported accommodation for individual and group activities. A soundLINCS Music Facilitator planned and delivered the musical activities which also included ideas from the young parents involved. Inclusion increased the confidence of participants to trust their own ability to make decisions.
As a part of her report Dr Beckley writes:
“The social interactions organised, devised and encouraged through musical activities and the opportunity to access these in a non-threatening, safe environment gave young parents and their babies and toddlers the means to learn new skills in personal, social and emotional development as well as enjoy and develop their musical ability for themselves and their children.”
One young parent who participated in the study commented that while “[I was] a bit nervous at first, meeting others in a new place” the sessions “gave me the confidence to attempt new opportunities”. She described her son to have “enjoyed the drums, instruments and singing together”.
The study arose from a Youth Music funded project for soundLINCS to develop Musically Inclusive practice for Children in Challenging Circumstances across a range of sectors including Paediatrics, Youth Justice, Looked After Children, Leaving Care, Deaf and Hearing Impaired.
You can read the full Groove and Grow report by Dr Beckley – ‘To identify ways to support young parents in challenging circumstances to participate in social interaction with other young parents and their babies and toddlers through musical activities’ (2015-2017) – here.