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Life in our assessment homes – Matthew’s story

Beyond parental control 

Matthew* was 12 years old when he took a placement at our assessment home.  

He’d been living with his mum and dad at their family home until his behaviour had become so extreme, he was deemed beyond parental control.  

He was considered high risk for criminal and sexual exploitation and for running away from home and he was struggling with substance misuse.  

Vulnerable and confused  

Before he came to us, he would routinely leave his parent’s home in the evening and not return until the next day, by which point, he’d often be under the influence of Ketamine.  

He was being supplied Ketamine by adults in the local area and there were videos of him taking it circulating on social media.  

Matthew was also unsure of his sexuality and would visit online dating sites to talk and engage with much older men.   

He hadn’t attended school in 12 months.  

New challenges 

When Matthew came to us, we removed his phone and focused his time and energy on an outdoor activity programme. Matthew really enjoyed walking, which formed part of our ‘brain stem calming’ activities within our assessment model.  

Matthew stayed and walked in several national parks as part of the outdoor programme, and we also worked with him on managing his anger and building healthy and safe relationships. He completed a lot of work in these areas through our AQA programme.  

Matthew also started boxing lessons as a way of managing his emotions and keeping fit.  

Making progress 

As a result of his placement, Matthew’s risk of criminal and sexual exploitation, substance misuse and going missing from home reduced to low. He achieved 32 AQA awards and completed the full outdoor activity programme.  

He also worked towards getting access to his phone again and made successful contact visits back at his mum and dad’s house. 

Our assessment placements usually last for 12 weeks, but Matthew stayed for an extra month so that we could help him steadily transition back to the family home. 

Back home with Mum and Dad 

Matthew is now living back with his mum and dad where he’s happy and settled and he’s recently signed up for a music course at his local college.   

We keep in touch with Matthew and his family. His parents are amazed by the difference they’ve seen in their son and his behaviour.  

“When Esland came into our lives, Matthew was really struggling, which meant we all were. He’d been destroying things at home, was angry all the time, and had gotten involved with drugs. That’s when his social worker recommended that he should move into care. 

We were so worried about what that might mean for him, but right from the start, Esland worked with all of us to make sure that his transition was as easy as it could be. 

It took a little while for him to settle, but he quickly developed a great rapport with his care workers. They made a point of getting to know him by finding out his likes and dislikes, and they encouraged him to look at things differently. It was like they helped him reprogramme his brain so he could value who and what was important to him. 

He’s now back home with us, and our lives have all changed so much for the better. Esland has built us back up as a family; they are the best thing that could have happened to us, so much so Matthew says he’d love to go back just for a holiday! Thank you, Esland, for saving our family.” 

Quote from Matthew’s mum 

*We have changed the name to protect the young person’s identity. 

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