“The start of getting my life back on track”
“I always prided myself in being a strong and capable woman who parented my children well and with discipline. When my marriage ended my oldest daughter, 13 at the time, started to act out. She was skipping school and I was worried about the crowd she was hanging out with. She lost interest in her appearance and personal care. I found out she was sending inappropriate pictures and messages to boys on social media. I knew I needed some support.
I reached out to our local social services who I believed were there to help. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. As my parenting was put under the microscope my daughter began running away more and more, sometimes she would be gone for weeks. She first ran away when she was 14. Once she went to school in her PE kit and didn’t come back for two weeks. I found out where she was and got a friend to drive me there so I could get her back. No services would help me. She was in a house full of gang members and hadn’t changed her clothes or showered for a two weeks. I got her home and cared for her but the next day she ran again. This was my life for three years. I felt utterly lost and that no one could help me. I also had a younger daughter who I had to stay strong for, despite nearly falling apart with worry. During this time my daughter got involved in criminal activity and our house being searched by the Police became a regular occurrence, at least once per month. My mental health deteriorated and I was put on medication to help me with depression and anxiety. I was unable to work and this led to financial hardship.
I decided I needed to move away from the area I was in to try and give my family a fresh start. When we moved to Walsall the new Social Worker refered us to Street Teams and this was the start of getting my life back on track. My daughter had a case worker who she really took to and who she would listen to. It didn’t stop the negative behaviours over night but simple things like getting my daughter to apologise to me for the first time had a massive impact. I felt like no one had ever got through to her until she met her case worker.
I also had a case worker. When she met me I was at the end of my tether, I was angry and shouting all the time. I didn’t trust any services at this point and looking back I can’t believe that she stuck with me. She attended every case meeting with me, worked closely with my daughters case worker and for the first time I felt hope. Now I have a much better relationship with my daughter, she is an adult now and lives independently. She is still dealing with the trauma that she experienced but I am proud of the woman she is becoming. I am off all medication, have returned to college and I am also a Street Teams volunteer, helping other parents who are experiencing what I went through.
Without Street Teams I honestly believe my daughter would not be alive today and my other children would be in care due to my inability to cope.”