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Schools Part of Esland Group


Life in our group homes – Jen's story

Born into drugs  

Jen’s* childhood years were frightening and chaotic.  

She was born addicted to heroin and was removed from her parent’s care when she was 2 years old due to neglect. 

For the next eight years, Jen was cared for by her aunt, who became her full-time guardian. During these years, both her mum and dad spent time in prison. 

Troubled childhood 

Unfortunately, things didn’t improve for Jen under her aunt’s care and her school contacted social services with concerns about her home life.  

After further investigation, it became clear that Jen was being physically abused and severely neglected. 

As a result, Jen went into foster care, but several placements, including one residential placement, broke down within the first year.  

A brand-new start 

Jen has been living with us for 4 years. She’s now 16 and ready to move into semi-independent living. 

When Jen started living with us, she was considered a flight risk. She had an eating disorder, repeatedly self-harmed, and was verbally and physically aggressive. 

Our team worked through these issues with her, and things have greatly improved since. She doesn’t go missing, she doesn’t self-harm, and she’s not verbally or physically aggressive anymore. We’ve shown her techniques to manage her anger and supported her through her eating disorder. 

Positive parenting  

Jen now enjoys countless days out and went on her first holiday recently. She’s rebuilding her relationship with her mum and dad, and although she’s found this difficult, she’s worked hard to understand her feelings and make positive steps forward. 

By nurturing Jen and giving her positive parenting and affection, she’s spent the last few years enjoying a normal childhood. From birthday parties to horse riding lessons and sleepovers, Jen has experienced everything she never got to do before.   

Re-engaging with school 

Jen always found school really challenging. When she first came to us, her attendance score was at a low of just 58%, and she had disengaged with learning. 

Since living with us, her attendance score has risen to 100%, she’s got into sixth form to complete her A levels and she’s completed the Duke of Edinburgh Bronze and Gold awards.  

She’s achieved so much in the time she’s been with us. Her situation couldn’t be more different now than from the 12-year-old girl we first met.   

“We’re all so proud of Jen, and we'll stay in contact with her when she leaves us. She has been through a lot and is so resilient. She’s proven that being in care doesn’t have to stop you from achieving positive outcomes and that learning to trust people again is okay.” 

Quote from the manager of Jen’s home 

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

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