Connected for Life was set up in January 2016 by Marie Blaney and Deirdre McLaughlin who are social workers with over 50 years combined experience working with young people who have been involved in offending, their families, victims and communities, as well as supporting staff in this work.
Throughout their careers Marie and Deirdre have seen the pervasive wounds created by childhood adversity, attachment issues and trauma. These issues transmit from generation to generation and permeate communities, contributing to substance misuse, mental health problems, suicide, violence, family breakdown, unemployment and educational underachievement, homelessness, hopelessness and shame.
Through working with those who were often deemed inherently flawed and irredeemable, Marie and Deirdre learned that there is always hope. While many of those they worked with tragically lost their lives, others thrived despite significant adversity and were able to desist from offending and become the best versions of themselves.
While change can only made by an individual, the development of resilience and desistance can be greatly supported by relationship based, compassionate and reflective practice. This type of practice not only requires self awareness and reflection, but a supportive team and organisational environment and high quality supervision.
Marie and Deirdre have qualifications in psychology, social work, systemic practice and family therapy (Intermediate Level), leadership and management and teaching (adult and continuing education).
They have completed continuing professional development and training in a range of areas, including restorative practice, family group conferencing, risk management, desistance, practice teaching, mental health, suicide prevention, domestic violence and substance misuse.