Ballymoney family project’s first year

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A ground-breaking programme which helps to keep vulnerable families in Ballymoney together celebrated its first birthday this week.

Action for Children’s Functional Family Therapy (FFT) is the only service of its kind in Northern Ireland and has already made a huge difference to the lives of children whose families were at risk of breaking down.

FFT is a short-term therapy which takes place in the family home to try and resolve family problems so that children can remain living at home with their parents.

Funded by the Big Lottery’s Realising Ambition programme, FFT targets young people who are experiencing family conflict, displaying violent behaviour, at risk of offending, or at risk of being taken into care.

It is widely used in the USA, Norway and Sweden where it has been very successful and is available in Ballymoney and other areas covered by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

Helen Dunn, children’s services manager at Action for Children in Antrim, said: “FFT has made a real impact in its first year.

“A number of young people who potentially would have developed serious difficulties and suffered a family breakdown have been able to remain at home and build positive relationships with their parents.

“We are very proud to deliver this internationally-acclaimed programme in Northern Ireland.

“In the current environment a lot of families are under pressure and we know that FFT can help us to meet their needs.”

Functional Family Therapy is currently available in the area covered by the Northern Health and Social Care Trust.

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Action for Children Northern Ireland is a charity that supports and speaks out for the most vulnerable and neglected children and young people, for as long as it takes to transform their lives. With 26 services we are at the heart of local communities – where you live and work.

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