At the point of referral Mary was 17 and her son Tom was 18 month old. She had fled a violent and controlling relationship with Tom’s father which she had been in for three years. Tom was subject to a child protection plan due to the risk of physical violence from his father.
Mary displayed clear signs of low self esteem and a lack of confidence and this continued throughout the first few months of her stay at the house. She gave little eye contact and spoke quietly in short sentences. When asked about what she wanted to do she was unsure how to answer. From information that she gave and her social worker gave it was apparent that Mary’s ex partner had made all decisions for her. She had not been allowed to express her opinion particularly to any agencies that were involved.
When Mary first moved in to Selina Cooper House, her son Tom always sat very quietly in his pram and did not paly like other children of his age. If he was taken out of the pram he would sit still on the floor and made no attempt to explore his surroundings of reach for toys. When staff spoke to him he would become distressed and would cling to Mary. Tom frequently slapped and screamed at Mary and would become very distressed when doing so. He would often be observed hitting himself in the face and repeatedly banging his head against the wall. Mary was gradually able to offer more information about her experiences within her relationship with Tom’s father which explained this behaviour. She told staff that her son had witnessed similar behaviour from his father. The social worker said that Tom was always sat in his pram in the former family home as the living conditions and hygiene were so poor it was not safe for him to be on the floor. Mary also explained how she was unable to parent Tom how she would have liked as his father would become jealous of any attention she gave to her son.
After living at Selena Cooper House for a year Mary and Tom worked hard with staff and their situation improved greatly..
Although at times Mary can still appear shy and quiet she is able to express how she feels, she is clear about what she wants for herself and Tom, she will challenge a decision if she disagrees and is able to defend her opinion. She deals with a wide range of other agencies such as Social Services, the police and solicitors with confidence. As Mary’s confidence levels increased her anxiety levels have become more controllable.
Mary felt safe at Selina Cooper House and with the positive encouragement from staff she was able to develop a loving relationship with her son. As Tom also became relaxed and felt secure his behaviour changed dramatically. He stopped smacking Mary and no longer hit his head against the wall. Within two months of coming to Selina Cooper House Tom was walking, talking and had learned how to explore his surroundings. Within four months of his stay he was able to allow Mary out of his sight and did not become upset if staff spoke to him. After six months Tom started nursery with only a brief period of upset while he settled into his new environment. Mary gives Tom lots of attention and deals with his behaviour in a positive manner. Tom remains subject to a child protection plan but it has been clearly stated that there are no concerns regarding Mary’s ability to parents or to keep Tom safe. The plan is in place as a result of his father’s persistent attempts to gain contact with Mary and the potential risk that this may create should he succeed.
There were no further reports that Mary had taken Tom for unnecessary medical appointments and she felt more confident about judging when assistance was required. There were fewer instances of missed hospital appointments.
Mary is able to cook a variety of healthy meals and shops regularly without support. Tom enjoys dried fruit snacks instead of sweets.
Mary completed a computer training course and is currently waiting to enrol on another course.
Mary successfully moved to an independent tenancy and receives support through the floating support service.