Date published: 30 October 2023

Mersey Care’s Building Attachment and Bonds Service (BABS), which aims to support parents and infants during pregnancy and post birth, has relaunched for referrals in Sefton for the first time since the pilot ended earlier this year.

Initially launched as a 12-month pilot with a directive to help 70 families in Sefton, it closed for referrals last December after reaching its target whilst still supporting families in the service until March this year.  The service has now been awarded recurrent funding to help many more parents and infants across Sefton.

The service accepts referrals from parents and carers who are pregnant or have a baby aged up to six months, who are struggling with their own wellbeing and/or struggling in their relationship with their baby. Although the referral window is short, we can work with families up until the baby is two.

Dr Lisa Marsland, lead consultant clinical psychologist for the BABS service said: “I’m delighted we’ve relaunched Sefton BABS. We have an amazing team and great services working alongside us in Sefton.

“Together we can make sure parents and babies requiring support receive the right support at the right time to help them build good bonds and break their own cycles of adverse childhood experiences.”

BABS Sefton offers clinical and therapeutic support to families. Key in providing this support is joint-working, training, and consultation to multi-agency professionals in Sefton. These include Midwives, Health Visitors, GPs, Early Help Workers and Social Workers.

Sefton’s BABS service is open to:

  • Parents who may be struggling to bond with their baby
  • Families who are open to past or present safeguarding services
  • Parents who struggle with their mental health, wellbeing
  • Families with factors such as drug or alcohol use or domestic abuse
  • Parents with mild to moderate mental health vulnerability or past trauma/abuse
  • Parents who struggle with relationships, insecure attachment, separation and loss
  • Parents who may have had other children removed from their care in the past.

Parents accepted for BABS support will be assessed using the following methods:

  • Psychological/psychotherapeutic assessment of parent-infant mental health, bond and attachment relationship via clinical interview/sessions
  • Parent-infant observation
  • Collaborative, joint multi disciplinary team (MDT) and ‘think family’ assessments.

The service welcomes telephone enquiries to discuss suitability prior to referral on 0151 351 8801, while referrals can also be sent via email to