Anna was 15 when she was referred to us by Police Scotland’s early intervention team. She was not offending but was identified at being at risk of offending and was failing to attend school regularly. Anna hadn’t seen her mum for over 12 years, and her dad is serving a lengthy prison sentence. She lived with an aunt but felt very excluded from the family and was not seeing her dad at all, as he was in a prison far from where Anna lives, making visiting very difficult. When Anna turned 16, she was asked to leave her accommodation. She tried to stay with another family member, but this did not work out. She ended up homeless, with no money, no belongings, and not one bit of paper to say who she was.
She remained on social work’s books, but Anna and her social worker did not have a good relationship, and Anna refused to engage with any of the help being offered to her, as she said she felt uncomfortable with them. She consistently disappeared for days at a time, sleeping on sofas where she could.
A member of our Family Support team gradually got to know Anna, and she started to trust our service. She would talk about concerns about her family and what she wanted out of life. We took on the role of lead professional, and when Anna’s dad moved to the new HMP Grampian, we were able to help Anna involve him much more in her life.
Months of intensive work with police, education, social work, SPS, and housing have now resulted in Anna being settled in a supported flat and receiving income support. She has a housing support worker (helping her out with budgeting and adapting to independent living) and a college place to study childcare. We are currently seeking a bursary to cover her rent.
Anna’s dad has started to build a much better relationship with her, and through his prison-based social worker, we send weekly email updates so he can follow her progress. Anna has also attended supported visits with dad to discuss her future. He didn’t know he could still be a parent from prison, and so for both of them it has been a really important development.