Sarah was a care leaver and had experienced a very chaotic upbringing. She came to live at the Society of St James’ youth homelessness project, All Saints, when she was 19. Her daughter, who was her second child, had just been taken into care. Sarah had experienced domestic abuse in her relationship with her daughter’s father. As a result, she had very low self-esteem and lacked confidence. She had no income and struggled to manage money.
Although Sarah loved her children deeply and wanted to be a good mother, her own unstable childhood meant that she did not have the skills she needed to parent her children.
Sarah’s mother had been awarded custody of her first child, and was applying to have Sarah’s daughter placed in her care so that the siblings could remain together. Sarah had been told that when this happened she would not be allowed to have any access to her daughter, and as a result she was extremely depressed and withdrawn.
Supporting young parents
The team at All Saints have lots of experience in working with teenage parents and supporting them through court proceedings concerning the care, custody of and access to their children. We supported Sarah to get legal advice. We also worked closely with social care services to make sure that Sarah knew what was expected of her in order to maintain contact with her children which she had been led to believe was no longer an option.
While Sarah was with us, she worked her way through our life skills programme, which includes sections on health, maintaining a tenancy, cooking, and social and personal relationships. She worked with the mental health team to address her emotional support needs, and worked hard on her budgeting skills.
‘Back on track’
She was soon paying regular weekly payments towards her rent and managing her money so that she had enough cash to treat her children when she saw them. And, after supporting her through months of court hearings, we were all over the moon when Sarah was granted regular access to both of her children.
Sarah stayed with us for 6 months, and when she moved on she was a confident and capable young woman. She told us: ‘All Saints got my life back on track and I am now looking forward to the future.’
* For privacy reasons, names may be changed, and while images used are of people that we have supported they may not be of the person featured in the case study
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