Frances had a turbulent childhood in Moss Side. She was well known to Social Services, never off the child protection register and a priority for her social worker. She became pregnant within a few weeks of her 16th birthday and gave birth to Mia on 11th September 2011.
Originally from Somalia, Hassan has been in the UK since 2002 and has permanent leave to remain. He has two other children who live in Ethiopia. He is 29.
Frances has three sisters and three brothers. All her siblings have the same father but she has a different father. Although he still lives close by, Frances has had no contact with her biological father since she was three.
Frances’ mother is not well. She is in and out of hospital. First she had her toes amputated, then part of her foot, then her leg from below the knee. She has suffered with alcoholism but no longer drinks. Although their relationship has been strained for many years they are now getting along and, as well as looking after Mia, Frances keeps an eye on her mum.
This is the supported housing for vulnerable young mothers where Frances and Mia live. There are a dozen self-contained flats on two floors as well as communal facilities like a laundry and a lounge. Dunbar Street [not its real name] is staffed 24 hours and Frances has an appointed key worker. Partners can stay overnight up to three nights a week.
The Family Nurse Partnership
Imported from the States, the Family Nurse Partnership is an NHS initiative aimed at supporting vulnerable young mums and their children, up to the age of two. The principle is simple: investment in early support reaps long term benefits across all areas of a child’s physical and social development. Jane [not her real name] is Frances’ ‘family nurse’.
The Reclaim Project
Reclaim is a mentoring programme for young people from ‘pressurised’ communities. One of its first projects was in Moss Side to which Frances was referred by her teachers. She has not formally engaged with Reclaim for some time but its director, Ruth Ibegbuna and her staff continue to support Frances. Len Grant met Frances whilst commissioned to write The Reclaim Book.