Moving into kinship care has been an emotional event for both Connor and his mum, but Includem’s ADAPT for CashBack team has been with them every step of the way.
Connor is 14 years old. He was referred to includem’s ADAPT for CashBack project by his pastoral care teacher who was increasingly concerned about his behaviour; Connor was missing classes and when he did go, he was verbally abusive to his teachers.
When the ADAPT for CashBack team started working with Connor, it quickly became apparent that all was not well at home either. Connor lived with his mum and younger sister, his parents having split up a few years before. At home, Connor had a very strained relationship with this mum. Connor was sometimes violent towards his mum and was smoking cannabis, and she was very open about the fact she wanted him taken into care.
This happened just a few weeks into our time with Connor. One day his mum left him at school, telling teachers he wasn’t allowed home. Connor was devastated, but his ADAPT for CashBack worker was there for him every step of the way, supporting him as he made the transition to kinship care with his cousin.
Though initially very upsetting, being in kinship care has actually helped Connor to take positive steps forward in his life. Connor has always engaged well with his workers, learning quickly that he could trust them because they didn’t judge him and were always there for him. However, being in kinship care has given Connor the space away from his mum that has allowed him to open up more.
Connor’s ADAPT for CashBack workers provided him with a safe, non-judgemental space to open up about his past and his emotions. Connor had witnessed a lot of domestic violence in his parents’ relationship and they continued to be verbally abusive to each other in front of him. This unresolved trauma, along with his strained relationship with his mum and the recent death of his grandmother meant Connor went looking for comfort in negative peer groups and cannabis. Connor understands this about himself now and how his behaviour can upset his mum. He has stopped smoking cannabis, rekindled positive friendships and is learning how to control his anger.
Connor moving out of the house has also led to a break-through moment for his mum. Before this, Mum avoided her ADAPT for CashBack workers because she felt she didn’t need them, that only Connor needed help. This changed, however, when her ADAPT worker called her a few days after Connor had moved out. Mum acknowledged that she was really upset and no one else had checked up on her to see how she was. The fact her ADAPT worker was there for her helped her to trust them. Mum now comes to her contacts with workers and is beginning to see how her own behaviour impacts on Connor.
After just a few short months, Connor and his mum have made incredible progress – we can’t wait to see how much more they can achieve.