Life Story: Andrea and Thomas’ Story

Andrea and Thomas’ Story

Andrea and Thomas are in their 40s, and have a young child in early primary education. They are a lovely family and their child is the focus of their life. All Andrea wanted, was to be a mother and enjoy parenting. Thomas from the start loved being a father and was the main carer for their child in the early months, looking after Andrea and the baby.

The couple felt the early months were “the best time of our lives”. When their child was one, Andrea felt she needed some support, as she was finding some parenting issues difficult. Their GP referred her to Social Services, with the idea that they had the resources to help the family.

Over the next four years 13 social workers worked with the family, each doing their own assessment and focusing on Andrea’s learning difficulties rather than providing the help they needed. Andrea and Thomas attended parenting classes, but found them to be unhelpful and confusing. Andrea said she would have found one-to-one home parenting visits more help, as she would remember more and feel more comfortable about asking questions. A home visit was arranged from a support worker with this in mind, but it again seemed more like an assessment.

This was very distressing to the family as a whole, making parenting even more of a challenge. Andrea, as a result, suffered from depression and was prescribed antidepressants. The family after four years were left intimidated, powerless, confused and exhausted.

Angela, a Circles Network Coordinator, met the couple and worked with the family over a number of weeks. She was invited by the couple to attend court, core meetings and a case conference, as well as visiting their home a number of times. Supporting Andrea and Thomas to put together their own Person Centred Plan, Angela helped the couple begin to take control. Both Andrea and Thomas felt that they had never had their strengths and skills acknowledged until they had a plan. They now use their Person Centred Plan at all core meetings.

“We have never had such positive things said about our family; it has given us the confidence to continue to do the best for our child.”

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