Exciting partnership working between organisations who are part of the Re-Unite network is now making it possible for us to support mothers in prison into a home in the community, regardless of geography
Stafford to Greater Manchester – Jodie’s story
‘Jodie’ was serving a ten month sentence in HMP Drake Hall in Staffordshire and was anxious to return to Greater Manchester on release to start to build a life for herself and her six year old daughter ‘Eva’. Eva was in the shared temporary care of her father and paternal grandmother and settled in a local school.
Re-Unite Birmingham assessed Jodie’s needs and provided relevant information to Re-Unite Greater Manchester. It was clear that Jodie would be lodging indefinitely with family and friends on her return if housing couldn’t be found, which could prolong her separation from Eva.
Using the detailed knowledge and full assessment that they now had for Jodie, Re-Unite Greater Manchester were able to work closely with New Charter Housing Trust to secure a two-bedroom, 12 week assured shorthold tenancy in Greater Manchester. Eva and Jodie have now moved in together and Jodie is being supported to make a success of this unique opportunity.
The verdict from the case worker at Re-Unite Birmingham:
It was a pleasure to help out Re-Unite Greater Manchester with their referral, we look forward to more joint working. This also helps us to find out more about other organisations so we can refer women from other areas when we’re conducting prison in-reach, whether they are potential Re unite clients or not.
London to Gloucester – Amy’s story
‘Amy’ is originally from a town on the south coast of England where her daughter was under voluntary placement (section 20) with social services. She had originally started a 2.5 year sentence in a prison with a Mother and Baby Unit, however as the baby reached 18 months old before Amy was due for release, the baby was placed in care and Amy was moved to a London prison.
Lily Stevens, Project Manager at Re-Unite South London picks up the story…
I received a letter from Amy, 3 weeks before her release date asking for help with accommodation and re-uniting with her two year old daughter.
The Offender Manager and the Social Worker did not have any options for Amy for housing in London or in her home town but the preference was for her home town as this is where she could have assessed contact with her daughter.
As Re-Unite South London did not have any accommodation available in any case, I looked on our website and saw that the nearest Re-Unite project to her home would be Re-Unite Gloucestershire. I called the project manager and it so happened she had been looking for a suitable referral for a 2-bed Stonham Housing flat they had set aside for Re-Unite.
I carried out a Re-Unite risk assessment with Amy one week before she was released and suggested to her the option of a fresh start with Re-Unite Gloucestershire, she agreed. She said she did not have any ties in her home town as the relationship with her family had broken down years ago and the only reason she would be returning there was for contact with her daughter.
The project manager at Re-Unite Gloucestershire passed on the risk assessment to Stonham Housing and after careful consideration they approved her for the tenancy. I met Amy at the gate last week and helped her get a train to her home town where she had to attend probation and see her daughter.
The last step was to convince Social Services and Probation that this would be a positive fresh start for Amy and her daughter. I attended a multi-agency meeting in Amy’s home town yesterday with the Social Worker, Probation Officer, Foster Carer and Danielle. The general consensus was that she and her daughter would definitely benefit from the support that Re-Unite Gloucestershire could offer. A plan was drawn up for the next four weeks for contact between Amy and her daughter and the Social Worker agreed to cover half the cost of the travel (the other half being covered by Re-Unite). The Probation Officer made a referral to Gloucester probation and the last thing to do was to book Amy a ticket for the next day to Gloucester and for her to pack.
Amy moved in this afternoon and loves the flat. I have now handed over to the Re-Unite Gloucestershire project worker who is meeting Amy in the morning to start her support plan and introduce her to the ISIS women’s centre. So far so good……