Helping a Family Back Together
X was a 37 year old who was referred to our service by her council after her 4 children were taken into care following an abusive relationship. She had become homeless due to the breakdown of her marriage and ,following the removal of her children, she could no longer afford her rent and was served notice.
When our team interviewed her, she was highly distressed as she only had days left before she was going to be evicted and become street homeless. The impact of life-changing events for X was massive – she had lost her family and now her home – before that, she had also lost her job.
After she was assessed, ACT were able to offer X a one bed flat – she was supported to furnish this via the Essential Living Fund (a fund from the council dedicated to helping vulnerable people live independently). ACT supported her with her Housing Benefit application and helped her with her other benefits. Her Housing Officer liaised closely with social services to support her to gain contact with her children and also with completing a parenting course.
X settled in well and engaged well from day one, always working towards personal goals set in her support plan – the main goal being to continue to get access to her children. At first she achieved regular visiting rights at a contact centre, which then led to an increase in contact with a few hours unsupervised – this was an amazing achievement as it showed that social services trusted her enough to spend quality time alone with them. The ultimate goal was always to have her children returned to her. Although progress was slow, she never wavered. She worked tirelessly with children’s Social Care to complete every task they set her. Finally, there was talk of her children being allowed back into her care.
X’s Housing Officer helped her to make a Housing application to the council, with a view to housing her in a 3-bedroom property (a condition set by Social Services to allow the children to be returned to her). Unfortunately there were none available but, after much discussion and a great deal of advocacy from her Housing Officer, Social Services agreed to compromise and she was provided with a 2-bedroom council flat until a 3 bed became available. Another application was then submitted to the Essential Living Fund for furniture for her children.
The end of this story is that, through continuing support from her Housing Officer and ACT, X has finally been able to have her children returned to her. Well done to Lisa and the team – a fantastic piece of work and the best outcome for our service user.