A courageous journey

By PSS | Posted: Wednesday November 4, 2020

Erika* has five children with ages varying from newborn to 9 years old. Erika’s family had Oranga Tamariki involvement due to care and protection concerns for the four eldest children and the spotlight was on Erika and her partner for the birth of their fifth child. The family was referred to Family Works by Oranga Tamariki for Social Work Support.

Erika describes herself as a “shut-in” mum, someone who prefers to be at home because she had learnt that to be out of the house meant exposure to the world and people who are judgmental and critical.

Anxiety was a constant companion for Erika and distractions byway of social media use and games has become a way of life. Then enters COVID-19 with news, information, fake news and misinformation. Erika received advice from her Family Works Social Worker to help her to reduce her anxiety, which included limiting her technology use. This change made a big difference in how Erika was coping with her day to day life.

Erika’s oldest son was then returned to her and her partner’s care and a copy of the “Hey Warrior” book was given to the family. Erika’s eldest son also suffers from anxiety and the purpose of the book was to help him to deal with his anxious thoughts and behaviours.

Work was also undertaken with Erika to address her anxiety. This work involved setting goals together with her Social Worker, the steps that needed to be taken to achieve these goals, rewards for achievement and setting some bigger goals once the smaller goals were achieved.

Erika was surprised to be told she was ‘a star’ for achieving her goal of going across the road and speaking with a neighbour who has a son in the same class as her son.

Overtime the family situation changed and Erika, who has been stalling and procrastinating to get her driver’s license, went into town and successfully got her learner’s license which was a huge step in her development.

Erika is also attending the Incredible Years Parenting Programme and she is now contributing to the other participants’ learning in the programme. The journey thus far has taken more than 12 months with life events at times continuing to prove distracting and challenging, but Erika is slowly learning to trust the world and things are continuing to improve for her and her family thanks to the support of our Family Works service team.

*Name has been changed due to confidentiality reasons.