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Schools Part of Esland Group


Reunification with family - Laila’s story

Struggling to cope

Laila* had a difficult start to her childhood. Life at home was turbulent and challenging, and there were concerns that Laila and her sister were suffering from abuse. As a result, they were both taken into care. During this time, Laila struggled to manage her emotions, and her behaviour would quickly become aggressive and destructive.

Sadly, Laila was moved multiple times between different foster placements, each one breaking down because of her behaviour. She'd often become physically aggressive towards her foster carers and caused significant property damage during most of her placements. Her foster carers struggled to meet her needs, and they were concerned they could no longer keep her safe.

New beginnings

When Laila first joined us, we completed a 12-week assessment of her needs to understand how best to support her. We worked closely with our therapeutic team, and on their advice, we established robust routines and boundaries to give Laila's daily life some form of structure.

At first, Laila had a one-to-one staff ratio, but due to her aggression, we increased this to two-to-one.

We helped Laila develop her independence skills. She learnt how to cook delicious homemade meals and attended many different activities. Through these experiences, she built strong attachments with us and began to trust us more and more.

Forming friendships

When we first met Laila, she was on the cusp of transitioning to high school, so one of the first things we did was secure her a place in a mainstream school to continue her education. We also followed Laila's interests, passions, and strengths and enrolled her in a local drama club, which she loved.

She began forming solid friendships, which helped her confidence bloom. We also organised events at the home and invited the neighbours and people from the local community. As she got to know everyone better, she would often stop and chat and take them cards and gifts for Christmases and birthdays. Laila suddenly had a network of support that she could rely on and have fun with, and she finally felt accepted.

Processing the past

To help Laila process and manage the trauma she'd been through during her younger years, we set up some art therapy sessions where she could talk about her past experiences and express her emotions in a safe, nurturing, and creative space. Laila wasn't so keen on these sessions at first, but with encouragement, she began to respond positively.

Over time, and with our team's consistent, therapeutically led approach, Laila began to recognise, understand, and regulate her aggression and emotions more effectively. This reduced the number of incidents we had to respond to. Now that she could better articulate her wants and needs, we could get Laila back to a one-to-one staff ratio.

Going back home

Laila also started rebuilding her relationships with her family and began spending more time with them. It was a gradual process with many bumps along the road, but with our care and support, her family relationships improved and grew in positive directions.

Laila's main aim was to return to her family, and after multiple court hearings, several reports from our team and consistent progress on both sides, the judge approved her move back home.

We ensured Laila had a robust transition period to help her process the move and take things at the right pace for her and her family. We're happy to say the move went smoothly, and she's now thriving in her family home. We still have close links to Laila, and to this day, she still calls our team daily to check in and see how everyone is.


"I am very proud of our team's amazing work in showing Laila that she genuinely belonged and could move forward with a support network behind her. She moved back with her family after a tough and challenging court case but it's the best outcome for Laila. She truly is an amazing young lady who has been on an incredible journey!"

Quote from Laila’s Home manager


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

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