Simon lives in a small Scottish town with his two sons aged 9 and 5 and his 2 year old daughter. He and his ex- partner had a long history of drug abuse and were involved with Social Work Services for many years. The children had experienced several foster care placements and moved house numerous times. Simon became drug free and he and the children no longer have any contact with his ex –partner. He was referred to the Mellow Parenting programme by his social worker who indicated that if his ability to cope with his children’s needs did not improve the children would be placed in the permanent care of the local authority.
Simon says “Before going on the Mellow Parenting Programme I had loads on my mind, I didn’t know how to handle my kids, even the most basic things like getting them to school on time was difficult for me. Home Care came in daily and dealt with the kids. I would stick my head in the sand and felt like I was alone. It was very depressing and at times several time I felt it would be best if I just gave them up.
When my social worker told me about the Mellow Programme she said I had to do it or risk losing my kids. I didn’t really want to go but knew if I didn’t it would be all over for me. Nile came and met me at the house and straight away I liked him. He listened to me and told me that I could only go on the programme if I wanted to do it for me and not for Social Work. Not being forced or told to do something for me was something I want used to. It was always about the kids, nobody ever thought about me!
Since taking part in Mellow Parenting I feel a lot closer to my kids and more confident in getting my children to do things I have asked them to do. My children are so much happier and my oldest son Luke said “I don’t mind doing things with the dad’s group because they’re not social work”. Luke has been involved with Social Work for most of his young life. Since I have been working with Nile my Mellow Mentor I feel I have a better relationship with my support workers. He has made me realise they are there to help and are only there to look out for the kids. I now have someone I can talk to and someone who will support me if I need help with anything that is worrying me, the kids, money, anything; he’s always at the end of the phone and always makes time for me. My time keeping is so much better and I am going to all of my appointments and my social worker is happy with my progress. My middle child has now turned and told me “I love you daddy because you are really good at looking after me”. I now feel like there is light at the end of the tunnel. My life is so much better and I am happy to wake up each morning. I no longer feel like looking after my kids as a job but as a blessing. For the first time in many years my life is moving in the right direction.
Simon attended the programme for the full 14 weeks and continues to meet with Nile, his Mellow Mentor regularly. Peer and Professional worker observations have reported improved interaction and communication with his children. There have been significant changes in his confidence and his understanding of his children‘s needs. His children are now tidy, clean and seem happier. This has resulted in Home Care no longer being required to support the family. Simon and his children’s now have regular weekly outings accompanied by his mentor. Observations have indicated that the children now seem happy to take part in local activities this has resulting in increased interaction with their father and a decreased level of challenging behaviour from the children.
Simon’s Social worker has reported that she has seen significant changes in him since taking part in the programme and is extremely happy with this progress.