Re-Unite has made great strides in 2013: 80 women and over 140 children have been through the programme or are currently on it. It’s a good time for an update…
Re-Unite South London
Re-Unite South London continues to accept referrals for women held in five prisons across the South East. Capacity is limited by the number of houses available for Re-Unite clients (currently ten properties) but in recognition of the ever expanding number of applications, the project has also started to offer floating support.
A dedicated children’s worker also supports the children and young people with any health and wellbeing difficulties, behavioural issues or problems at school.
Outcomes are as positive as ever, with just one incidence of breach and one reoffence in five years of service delivery. All but five of the women have moved on from the programme in a planned way after 12 months – finding a home through the local rental market and continuing to progress.
By this point the women tend to report that things have improved for them across all areas of their lives but particularly their physical and mental health and their ability to manage their finances.
Re-Unite outside of London
The Re-Unite replication pilots – in Birmingham, Gloucestershire, Greater Manchester and Yorkshire are now a year old and are going from strength to strength. Thirty-seven women are now on the programme with 23 of them already settled into safe, stable housing.
Sixteen of the women are now living with their children while 7 are on the Re-Unite ‘Mother’s Programme’ – not yet ready to regain care and custody of their children but receiving intensive rehabilitation support and working hard to create a stable life.
The children of 11 of the women on the programme were taken into local authority care when their mother went to prison and Re-Unite works very closely with social services to create a plan that is in the best interests of the children.
The Re-Unite replication pilots support mothers with often very complex needs: 65% have known substance misuse issues; 68% have diagnosed mental health difficulties, a quarter were homeless, sofa surfing or living in a hostel or refuge even before they entered custody and about half have a history of previous offending.
We are finding that the quicker we can get mothers into suitable, stable housing, the greater the chance of success. A home is the first (and vital) step on a long journey…
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net