A fading photocopied poem is surrounded by scores of baby photos on the pinboard at Hannah Place.
The words about what makes a mum special speak loudly to Social Worker Fatima Krivdic.
The poem, she says, is a reminder of what most of us have but what others go without – sometimes for their whole lives.
The love a mother shares, the many little thoughtful things that show how much she cares…
When you’re little she protects you, she tucks you in at night, and when she knows you’re ready she steps aside, but still she watches over you with tender loving pride.
“Our clients didn’t have this and we endeavour to work alongside them to provide this for their children,’’ Fatima says.
“We will always go the extra mile to support them, even if we don’t always support the choices they make.’’
Fatima is a founding staff member of Hannah Place where young women under the Guardianship of the Minister who are pregnant and parenting, and require support to bond with and care for their baby, can stay until the age of 18.
Most clients have spent their formative years in and out of foster homes or residential care facilities due to unresolved family crisis, childhood trauma and other complexities such as mental health, sexual violence, and drug use.
Located at Pooraka, Hannah Place opened eight years ago. In 2018/2019, the service has supported 48 young women and their children.
“It’s somewhere they can call home for the first time ever in their life,’’ Fatima says.
“What we love about this place is that we can hug them, we can laugh and cry and get angry with them, and we do – we do all those things.’’
Under a case management framework, clients are supported to develop their parenting capacity and mother/child attachment and, if their child has been removed from their care, to work towards reunification.
“Developmentally the mum might be seven but chronologically she’s 15, so essentially she’s a child trying to parent without a positive template of her own,’’ Fatima says.
“The mother loves the baby but love, sadly, is not enough to raise a child.’’
Outreach support is offered to clients until they are aged 19 but the door at Hannah Place is always open.
“All of them at some point will call just to say hello or to share an achievement with us, or they will come back here if they’re hungry or need somewhere to go, because trust is a huge thing,’’ Fatima says.
On Sunday, staff will host a Mother’s Day lunch for the six women and four children currently living at Hannah Place.
“It will be a big day for sure, not just looking forwards but looking backwards, because 99 per cent of them don’t have any supportive figures in their life, let alone a mother,’’ says Ellen Massie, Youth Support Worker.
“They love to be recognised and acknowledged for the work that they are doing.
“Sometimes they don’t believe us because they’ve never heard that in the past.
“So we praise them every day and look for the positives, not just on Mother’s Day.’’