Donna’s mother was unable to care for her due to a diagnosis of schizophrenia and alcohol dependency.
As a result She was taken into local authority care at the age of 9. She had been through a number of unsuccessful foster placements before leaving care at the age of 16 to spend the next 4 years in hostels and sleeping rough. Her vulnerabilities and homelessness led to her mixing with other vulnerable and chaotic individuals, eventually being introduced to the man who would become the father of her 2 children. Her first daughter was removed at birth when Donna was 17. She continued to have a relationship with the father but he was physically violent, emotionally abusive and controlling and she described the next few years as ‘living on a knife edge’. When she first came to New Dawn New Day her partner was 3 months into serving 4 year prison sentence for supplying heroin and Donna was about to give birth to their second child. She had been supported by social services into getting a flat for her the baby by and there was a safeguarding plan in place.
Donna found it very difficult to communicate and engage with us so her Outreach Worker took a lot of time slowly building trust, visiting her at the flat and making regular telephone contact. Her emotional management was very poor and she found it difficult to express her feelings, often coming across as angry or abusive. Her worker persisted with her and slowly Donna began to accept more and more support. She found it difficult to deal with social services and the emotional demands of pregnancy. Social services removed her second child shortly after the birth. This left Donna devastated and she started drinking heavily for a while but she continued to accept support and eventually started to attend weekly counselling to deal with the grief and to start untangling the complexities of her life. She started to see a drug and alcohol worker and brought her drinking under control.
Her Outreach Worker also helped her to navigate the complexities of social care and safeguarding procedures as well as supporting her to access benefits advice and, after 9 months she attended a 10 week trauma-informed Emotional Management course which seemed to have a significant impact on her.
“I’m now in a much better place than before. I feel more in control and I’m actually proud of my achievements. I’ve learned to recognise how certain things can trigger my anger and frustration. I now have some coping strategies that have really helped.
When I first started this course I couldn’t see a positive future. My daughter had been taken into care, I was trying to cope using drink… I felt rubbish and anxious all of the time. Everyone had enough of me and I was crying all the time. Now I can see a more positive future and I’m going to do everything I can to get my daughter back”
She is maintaining her tenancy at her flat and is still slowly rebuilding her life.