A mother describes the life-changing impact of the Securing Change project and urges other parents to take part.
“I was a mess I couldn’t leave the courts,” Lindsey is describing the moment when she found out her children would be taken into care.
She had finished a 12-week assessment at one of St Michael's family residential assessment centres.
“I didn’t know what to do; I was crying in the toilet. I rang Crawford House where I was doing my assessment. Emma from Securing Change picked up the phone. I spoke to her, and she was really kind, talked to me until I managed to get to the train station. I had never had any professional do that for me.”
The Securing Change project helps parents leaving our residential assessment centres with or without their children. This is one of the most vulnerable times for parents, especially if they leave without a child.
Lindsey didn't want to work with Securing Change
When Lindsey had first met Emma from Securing Change a few months before, she hadn’t wanted to work with her. She said the other parents had said, ‘They work with parents who lose their kids,’
“I was a bit like, ‘I don’t want to do that with them’, it was really difficult to accept their role.”
Down to earth and natural
Even though Lindsey didn’t initially want to work with the team, she got to know them because of the sessions they ran and while she had her supervised contact sessions with her older child.
“I did some sessions with them about domestic violence and how it affected children. They were helpful.”
“After the contact sessions, I thought they were cool, really down to earth and natural. It was a good start for me. But I was still in denial.”
Overwhelmed and grieving
It was a shock when the courts decided that her children would be placed in care.
Lindsey was overwhelmed and grieving for their loss. The team from Securing Change were there at each step in the journey.
“They were the first people to visit me. I felt so alone.” Lindsey explains.
“When I got home after eight months of going through all the processes, there was a huge pile of mail in my flat. I didn’t want to deal with it. They said "We will help you". They helped me decide what things I needed to deal with and what could wait.”
These gestures established a relationship of trust so Lindsey could see the team was really trying to support her.
Someone to call
“I felt angry about what had happened to me. I felt like I wasn’t being heard. They helped me understand everything."
“I knew I could just pick up the phone and talk to them about things people just wouldn’t understand in the ‘real world.’
"They were honest with me always. Emma helped me understand how I was presenting myself and helped redesign my idea of parenting and how it affects children.".
It was about bettering yourself
“In the [residential assessment] houses the focus was on the child. Securing Change was different. It was about focusing on bettering yourself whether your children live with you or not.”
“I found myself talking about things I didn’t want to. But it was worth it going through those feelings. “
“[Securing Change] was really holistic; they supported me with everything from finances to working with the dad. There were no secrets I spoke about everything with them.
I feel incredibly positive now. I don’t think I would be where I am now without Securing Change. “
Parenting from afar
Lindsey was still able to see her children, but she needed to understand how the system worked and how to parent from afar.
The team at St Michael’s have a lot of experience they can share with parents. Lindsey explains,
“Emma was a social worker and Ellie had a background in probation. They helped me understand the different systems and what my journey through them should look like. Ann-Marie who I work with now is an ex-social worker too.
“They helped me understand what I needed to do with my finances, helped me plan things out step by step and came to meetings with other professionals with me as a support. They really helped me adjust and are still helping me”
Stopped me going off the rails
Lindsey was worried at the beginning that she could make her situation worse because of how low she felt.
“They stopped me going off the rails, I wanted another child, I could’ve ended up hanging out with people who had had bad experiences like me and not moving on. But because of them, I didn’t.
“It is possible to heal with a child in care. I am not healed yet, but I am in such a better place than I could’ve been.”
Everyone should work with Securing Change
“All the people I have worked with during Securing Change have done so much for me.”
“I am so positive about this experience, I want everyone to move onto working with Securing Change. I would be happy to talk to anyone about the experience.”
If you would like to know more about our Securing Change programme, please call us on 0208835 9570 firstname.lastname@example.org