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Yvonne’s Story

Yvonne was living with extended family in a two bedroom flat – this meant that 4 children and 4 adults were vying for space and attention. With no outdoor space and two of the children sharing a bed there was constant chaos, little structure and increasingly aggressive behaviour.  Our family support worker provided practical help and emotional support to improve everyone’s day to day life.

Yvonne recognised the impact the housing was having on her boys’ behaviour. She was struggling to respond to their needs and wanted help with strategies to support them. The youngest in particular was frequently wetting the bed and waking up multiple times in the night. Although there were no issues at school when Yvonne collected him his behaviour would become unmanageable.

With 4 children in the house and shared parenting responsibilities Yvonne needed to focus on meeting her children’s needs. She felt she wasn’t always consistent with her parenting and that she easily gave in to their demands. Mealtimes were particularly difficult and Yvonne would often respond to the children’s individual demands for food resulting in her cooking multiple meals or giving top up snacks if they didn’t eat their dinner.

Better housing was key but the application to the local authority was complicated by the families’ complex structure and finances. A large number of supporting documents were required but co-ordination by the Welcare family support worker ensured the application was submitted and deadlines met.

As the family waited for housing the family support worker applied for funding from the Henry Smith Charity which bought them a bed and linen. This helped the children’s sleep patterns and gave them their own space.

The family support worker also instigated discussions on setting consistent rules and boundaries.  Yvonne started to menu plan with the children and involve them in meal preparation. As a result they have a far healthier diet and are less reliant on snacks.

Although the school weren’t seeing any challenging behaviour they were involved with a Team Around the Family meeting.  This resulted in a referral to the Enuresis Team for the bed wetting and the family support worker working one to one with the youngest child.

The family have been accepted onto the housing register and whilst they have not yet moved they have taken the first step and Yvonne is now bidding on houses.

The youngest child is able to talk about his emotions and the family use the props he created in the sessions with the family support worker.  Yvonne says ‘we talk a lot more to each other. My younger son especially will talk about feelings and we talk about feelings to each other’.

Through the Team Around the Family meetings mum has a much better and more open relationship with school which means that she feels she can speak with them and raise any issues.

Yvonne scored the family 10/10 for how well Welcare understood their life situation. She said, ‘I was petrified and my family support worker was very good at explaining at every stage and making me feel a lot better about it.’

‘We were stuck and didn’t know what to do. We knew we were doing a good job but we wanted to do a better job.’

‘It was nice to know my thoughts and feelings weren’t crazy and I wasn’t doing as bad a job as I thought I was. I felt awful at the beginning but it wasn’t as bad as I thought and everything was related to housing’.

If you would like to make a difference to someone struggling in your local community please spare what you can. We couldn’t do the work we do without the valued help of our supporters.

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