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New service for Sefton Parents and Families with babies

Smiling woman and babyMersey Care has secured funding from Sefton Council for a 12-month pilot of the Building Attachments and Bonds Service (BABS) to enhance its early years support for children and families.

BABS is a new Parent Infant Mental Health Service in Sefton supporting vulnerable families while mum is pregnant and in the early weeks after the baby is born. It will offer specialist, therapeutic support to families in Sefton to help them build good bonds and attachment with their baby.

Important relationship

Consultant Clinical Psychologist and BABS Lead Dr Lisa Marsland Hall said: “In BABS we believe that relationships are everything and that the most important relationship is between parent and child. We need to support our vulnerable families in the community to build good bonds and attachment and invest well in the parent infant relationship.

“Most parents want to be the best possible parent they can be to their baby, but life is hard for many families and sadly things get in the way.  We want to support parents to separate out their own past parenting experience, issues and struggles from their relationship with their baby so they can be the parent they want to be to their baby.”

BABS offers therapy and support, for pregnant women, new parents and partners, who struggle with their emotional wellbeing, other vulnerabilities, and who have concerns about their bonding and relationship with their baby. Sessions may take place in the family home or in the local Family or Wellbeing Hubs in the community.

Increased risk

Professor Joe Rafferty CBE, Chief Executive at Mersey Care, said: “Adverse experiences in childhood are associated with an increased risk of health and social problems later.

“One in every two adults in England is thought to have suffered at least one adverse childhood experience. Early help will offer support to our families in Sefton to help them focus on staying healthy, happy and independent.”

Parent-infant bond

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “Providing this very early support to cement the parent-infant bond where it is needed can provide life-long benefits and opportunities, so I am delighted that Sefton Council has been able to support this service.”

More information about the new service can found via GPs, midwives, health visitors and any other multi-agency professional, who can all refer through to BABS.

In addition to the clinical support provided to families, specialist parent infant mental health training and consultation to multi-agency professionals locally is also provided.

Parents can call the service on 07787 277 524 or email