In this edition of our Real Lives series we meet Linda* and learn how the Re-Unite Mothers programme and multi-agency support teams supported her to get her son back through social services and the UK family justice system.

Drug Addiction and the Criminal Justice System

Support is needed to break the cysle of addiction and offending.When Linda* joined the Re-Unite programme in January 2011 she had been in prison more times than she could remember.

The sentences were short, mainly drug and theft related but always long enough to set her back to square one each time.

When we met her she was in recovery from a seven year crack and heroin addiction and had been clean for 10 months. She also had a one year old son, Sammy*. Sammy was taken from Linda at birth and placed in the care of Social Services. This was the impetus for Linda to get herself clean and fight to get him back.

Connecting with the Re-Unite Project

Social Services and the court agreed that with the support offered by Re-Unite Mother’s Programme, Linda could have Sammy living with her under a six month interim care order, after which time, if Linda had adhered to the care order, she would get Sammy back permanently.

Linda, Re-Unite and the rest of the multi agency team worked extremely hard over the six months to prove to the court that living with Linda was the best place for Sammy. At the final hearing the judge highly commended Linda for her determination and perseverance, and also noted the hard work of the Re-Unite team towards supporting Linda to achieve her goals.

Looking Forward to a Brighter Future

Linda and Sammy continue to do really well and are looking forward to their future together. Sammy can be really proud of his Mum.

*names have been changed