Sofia's Story Blog Image

Sofia’s story, as told by her mum

28/06/2018

In the same week, 8-year-old Sofia was attacked by a dog and evicted from her home. Sofia’s teacher saw that she was having a difficult time and suggested she get support from Place2Be. Her mum tells her story…     

“When my daughter Sofia was 8 years old, things began to go wrong for us. Sofia was attacked by my brother's dog, and needed emergency surgery for the wound to her face. In the very same week, we lost our home. While I was at the council offices trying to sort things out, the bailiffs came round and repossessed our flat. Sofia was at home and had to witness the eviction. The landlord was angry that she had stuck some stickers onto one of the doors, and said the flat was not in good enough repair. Sofia knelt on the floor to try to remove the stickers, worried that she had got me into trouble. It was traumatic.

We had to move in with friends who lived further away, and the journey to school took nearly two hours each way. Sofia was tired and would often doze on the train, and I worried that it was too much for her. She begged me not to change schools. She loved her school, and I decided I would do everything I could to keep her here.

It had an impact on her, though - she was sad and didn't seem herself. Everything happened so fast. She had been close to my brother, but after the dog attack, things changed and we didn't see so much of him and his family. Sofia really missed him.

She struggled to share a room with two other people at the new flat. She is an only child and was used to her things being organised in her own space. In school, her teacher said she was distracted and distant and her grades were suffering. She was rocking herself back and forth in class, which worried me. So when her teacher suggested I speak to the Place2Be School Project Manager, I was ready to try anything.

Sofia saw her counsellor for just over a year, and afterwards there was a big change in her. She was much, much better. She was more and more settled with her friends. Her grades were up. She stopped rocking. She wasn't scared anymore. The dreams where a man was climbing into the flat to take her away stopped. I was so pleased Place2Be was at the school. Sofia is my first priority, and knowing she was not scared anymore was everything to me. She brought home her box, full of models and paintings she had made during her sessions – miniature cakes in boxes and decorations for a restaurant she planned to open. Her box was labelled ‘safe’ and ‘confidential’. She was very proud of it.

The Place2Be School Project Manager supported me in other ways too. I could chat to her about things. She told me about an organisation that gives housing advice. I was especially worried when one day Sofia said she wanted to jump out of the window. The manager rang up the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), who assessed Sofia and put my mind at rest that she wasn't in any danger.

Things are going really well for us now. My daughter is at secondary school, and loves it. She has made loads of friends. We have a new flat, back in our neighbourhood. Now that I am not worried about her, I can grow and learn. I am free to concentrate on other things. I have been promoted at work and I am now working in the office. I have had a pay rise and money is not so tight any more.

Place2Be helped me and it helped Sofia. Thank you.”  

This blog was written in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the view of the organisation.

Find out more about how Place2Be supports children and parents

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