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On a recent round of home visits, our specialist practitioner shared her story … 

… I had two visits scheduled with mothers needing support. I confirmed the visits in the morning and bought some beautiful knitted jumpers for their sons. It’s nice to come to a home visit with something in hand. It can break the ice and kicks things off in a positive way.

The first visit I had is with a mother from Nepal. She has just escaped family violence and is coming to terms with life as a single mother. When she opens the door to me she greeted me with  ‘welcome home’.

It was the most beautiful welcome – it means so much that family’s feel totally comfortable with their professional network.

We discussed a few practical matters, such as employment, childcare and finances but mostly we discussed how she was feeling about her marriage ending. She explained her cultural context to me, including social hierarchies in her culture.

We talk a lot about cultural differences in this work – however when I really reflect, I see more similarities than differences between cultures. Especially where relationships and gender is concerned. Whilst I can offer this mother a listening ear, she provides me with so much powerful insight about culture and her view of the world. I hope she realises that I get just as much from that hour with her as she does.

My second visit was just around the corner. It was a ‘single session’ with a young single mother who was a housing client I had worked with last year. A single session is what it sounds like – one session that has a few clearly defined goals and practical outcomes. It’s kind of like an espresso – short and powerful providing some guidance to refocus and get things back on track.

During the session we spoke about mental health, finances and child care options. I put in a few referrals when I came back to the office and encouraged the young mother to reach out to me, should she want more support. It’s very important that people know the ‘door’ is always open. If we cannot help the client, we can at least help them to access the support they need.

I’ll go back to visit this mother in the next week, to bring some material aid. She’s needing some clothes for her rapidly growing baby! It will be a good opportunity to check in with her and see if she’s made headway on any of the goals we set.”