Paula* had spent time in care as a child and was referred to Parent Support by her Social Worker. She had an unsettled lifestyle with no family support, was socially isolated and was living with serious physical and mental health issues. Her pregnancy was unplanned and she had not even realised she was expecting until she was several months pregnant.
Karen and Liz at BCM Parent Support slowly gained her trust and helped in practical ways such as accompanying her to ante natal appointments and teaching her vital skills like how to sterilize a baby’s bottle. They helped her to move house so she would be nearer her own family and could rebuild her relationship with them for the sake of her child. They convinced her to rehome her cats and toilet train her dog to make sure her home was a safe and hygienic environment for a new baby.
The unborn baby was placed on the child protection register as Social Services were concerned about Paula’s ability to look after a child and keep him or her safe. This obviously raised great concerns for Jane who feared her child would be taken into care. BCM Parent Support implemented an intensive support package with daily visits for when her baby arrived. With co-operation and working alongside all the professionals, through time Jane developed the necessary parenting skills and her baby’s name was eventually removed from the register.
Paula started a new relationship and initially her partner was a great support, taking on the role of father. Paula was coping well with motherhood and they appeared happy and settled. However, she became pregnant again and after the birth of her second child her partner was violent towards her. Social Services were again involved. BCM Parent Support helped her navigate all the appointments and meetings and supported her to get advice from Women’s Aid on domestic violence and how to keep herself and her children safe.
Unfortunately Paula’s story is not uncommon and is typical of many of the young mothers and fathers who receive help from the BCM Parent Support project. They have complex needs and there is often no one easy fix or cure. Just because there is no easy outcome or box to tick it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t keep offering support. This is the essence of BCM’s mission; not to give up on people or situations and to be there to support those who are vulnerable and would otherwise have nowhere to turn.
*name has been changed