Shalina was referred to SHS through one of her children’s nursery school. They had noticed that the family were having problems and wanted to do something to help.
Shalina has five children. They live in a two-bedroom flat in London. It’s in a high rise and is in very poor condition. Four of Shalina’s children sleep in one bedroom. She shares a bedroom with one of her children, who has a complex life-threatening condition. It looks more like a hospital room than a bedroom – with the medical equipment required to assist him to breathe and ensure the air is clean for him. Due to the size of the lift, it is not big enough for the paramedics to transport Shalina’s child and carry his oxygen cylinder. Therefore the child has to always be carried down via the stairs which are time-consuming and a hazard to his health.
Shalina has had a very difficult time. In September 2019, her husband left the family home with rent in arrears and numerous other financial debts. He was financially and emotionally abusive to Shalina. Her child’s medical condition means she is constantly in and out of hospitals. She struggles with English as it is her second language.
The family’s SHS journey
When Shalina met with her Practitioner, she explained the challenges that her family faced. They spoke at length and started to work together to identify how Shalina and her family could overcome some of the difficulties they were facing, and in turn, ensure that her children were ready to learn and to achieve their full potential.
One of the biggest barriers Shalina faced was language. We helped her complete a number of forms to bring in some financial support for her family – including a free school meals form, a claim form for Disability Living Allowance, as well as contacting her local council to apply for the family to be rehomed. We also helped her to apply for a number of charities for financial assistance. To tackle Shalina’s language barriers we also referred her for English classes – but these have been put on hold during the COVID-19 lockdowns.
Following on from the one-to-one support offered to Shalina, life started to get much better for her and her family. We were able to give the family support through our Welfare Fund to buy food for the family and also purchase a fridge.
A housing benefit back payment was successfully awarded to clear the outstanding rent payments that Shalina’s husband had left with the family, and a joint tenancy agreement was signed that transferred the house into Shalina’s name.
A key part of our work at SHS is to ensure that this positive change is sustainable and that our families have lasting support networks. Shalina was very glad to be referred to the Parent Advisory Centre and to the Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SCERTS) workshop which helps families, professionals and therapists work cooperatively as a team to maximise progress in supporting the child.
The family have now been recognised as a priority by their local authority and will be rehoused in accommodation that is suitable for their needs. In addition, there will be additional space and a room for medical professionals who will provide 24-hour care for Shalina’s child.
Shalina’s Practitioner Kim said: “By empowering Shalina, she has begun to bring about and sustain positive change for her family. Shalina’s mindset is more positive despite the additional challenges the family face due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the intervention continues, it’s great to see what an impact this has had on her and her children so far.”
We are continuing to offer support for Shalina and her family.
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