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Case Study – Family 1

(Names have been changed to ensure anonymity).

Stephen is 17 years old and presented for the third time in 12months as roofless to Housing Advice. He was asked to leave by his mom Julie and her Partner Aubrey due to his attitude. During the interview with the Housing Advice Officer, Stephen stated that one of the reasons for his behaviour is the anger he feels about being abused by his real dad when he was a child. He also witnessed his dad abusing his mom who eventually fled the family home due to domestic violence, taking the children with her.

Following the interview with the Housing Advice Officer, Stephen was placed in a hostel overnight. The Housing Advice Officer discussed the case with the Crash Pad team and a decision was made that Stephen would be allocated a short term tenancy of up to 14 nights in the Crash Pad.

Stephen was settled into the Crash Pad by a support worker and asked if he would speak with a mediator, this he agreed to do and also gave permission for a mediator to contact Julie and Aubrey.

The mediator met with Stephen at the Crash Pad, it was a long and difficult meeting because Stephen found it very difficult to communicate his feelings to anyone. Eventually several issues were identified as being the main problems for the family relationship break down. Stephen gave permission for the mediator to speak to his family about the content of the meeting.

The mediator made contact with and visited Julie and Aubrey. They were relieved that Stephen was getting support and help and discussed the issues raised by him and what effect it had upon them and their lifestyle. They also disclosed other areas of conflict that they felt had to be addressed before they could accept Stephen back into the family home.

There were several meetings with both parties before a face to face meeting was held under the direction of two mediators.

The main points of the agreement that was drawn up from the content of the face to face meeting are as follows:

Stephen stated that he has difficulty in explaining how he feels and in expressing himself to others. He accepts that there are still some unresolved issues from when he was younger and his natural father abused him and his mother Julie. Stephen accepted that he was having difficulty in handling his acute feelings of anger and has agreed to be signposted on for professional help. His support worker was asked by the mediation service to explore this further on Stephen's behalf.

Stephen decided that he would like to move into independent, supported accommodation as soon as possible. He accepted that he needed help and support when this happens. Julie and Aubrey have agreed that they would like Stephen to remain in touch with the family and to visit when he wants to.

It is unsure when a place can be found for Stephen in the type of accommodation that would best suit him. Housing Advice staff are working on his behalf to procure the accommodation best suited to Stephen's needs as soon as possible. It is thought that this could take up to approximately 8 weeks, but it is equally possible that something might become available within a few days.

Aubrey and Julie stated that they would not want to see Stephen without a roof over his head and offered him the opportunity to return to the family home for the short term. This offer was dependent upon Stephen abiding by the house rules and treating family members in a respectful manner.

Stephen agreed that his behaviour and attitude had contributed to him being excluded from the family home. He accepted that if he were to be allowed to return home, whilst waiting for independent accommodation to become available, he would moderate his behaviour and show more respect for his family members.

There was an issue raised by Stephen about him being treated like a child, not being allowed a key and having to be in by 10.00 p.m. at night. Julie and Aubrey explained that they were concerned when Stephen didn't let them know where he was and that he may get hurt. They accept that Stephen is growing up and that a compromise could be reached about the time he comes home at night if he keeps them informed as to his whereabouts.

All agreed that keeping in contact with each other is important and that the support of all of the family members for each other should continue.

Everyone has accepted that Stephen will be returning home in the short term and will then move into independent accommodation. Other family members will continue to give support when Stephen moves out of the family home and Stephen will visit the family home regularly.

Stephen can return to the Housing Advice office if he has any further queries. Stephen, Julie and Aubrey can contact the mediation service if they require any further assistance.

The case was closed shortly after by the mediation team. Stephen remains on the housing waiting list and can call upon his support worker for assistance and advice for up to a maximum of 12 months.