A Small Steps Together success story

Sometimes, the only way to turn your life around is to start again, somewhere new. Doing so, laden with the consequences of your previous life choices, is tough. Expert support can make all the difference, as Julie discovered …


Julie and her partner Brian had been homeless for two years when they discovered that she was expecting their baby. She was 37 years old and, due to drug-dependency, had previously had children removed from her care. Realising this was her last chance, Julie was more motivated than ever before to turn her life around so that she could keep her baby.

Supported by their social worker, the couple moved into social housing. Though determined to make a fresh start, high levels of anxiety, low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence made it easy for local drug dealers to ‘move in’. Fleeing their home, they arrived in Cambridgeshire with nothing. Julie’s social worker called on us for support.


Following a professional risk assessment, an experienced Ormiston Families’ practitioner put together a comprehensive support plan. A key aim was to provide evidence in a social care report that would influence the court’s decision on whether Julie could keep her baby. We started to put this plan into action, keeping comprehensive records on progress.

Our support included:

  • Monitoring Julie’s mental health
  • Regular planned and unannounced home visits
  • ‘Mind Map’ therapy, working on where both parents were now and where they had come from, so that they better understood why they needing to show how they could sustain a new life in the area
  • Securing permanent housing and meeting tenancy terms
  • Improving their understanding of how to access benefits and grants and manage money
  • Introducing them to a positive support network in the community
  • Improving Brian’s employment prospects
  • Improving both parents’ understanding of the Child Protection process, ensuring they knew how to meet desired outcomes. This included attending Child Protection conferences with them.


Julie and Brian fully embraced the chance they were given. With support they have turned their lives around. The court gave them permission to bring baby Clive home under a 12-month supervision order, even though during the course of our work it was identified that he could have a brain condition.

They live a safe, healthy life and happily continue working with Ormiston Families and health and social care professionals. They understand the implications of having a child with a long-term disability and feel confident that they can continue to meet his needs.

“We knew we had to show we were the best parents ever. You showed us how we could do that. You went above and beyond to make sure we got Clive back home…”