Melanie came to Youth Futures when she was 22 weeks pregnant with twins. Prior to meeting with us, Mel had been couch-surfing due to a strained relationship with her father. With no other family to live with she was homeless. Mel had experienced domestic violence whilst staying with her ex-partner, leaving her to be in an unsafe and vulnerable situation whilst pregnant. To make the situation worse, health professionals had concerns for the unborn babies which weren’t growing as they should and feared the pregnancy wouldn’t progress.
Our Nest program was designed because we identified a gap in services for young parents experiencing homelessness and our general rule of thumb is that we consider young people for the program who are aged 16 to 19, either late in pregnancy or with a newborn. Mel was not late in pregnancy nor did she already have a baby. However, because the Nest is self-funded (through the Pipeline Challenge and generous donations), we’re not constrained by contractual obligations and as such, are able to offer a person-centered approach, adapting to situations as they arise and so we offered Mel a house.
Mel moved into one of our Nest properties and was given support and guidance from the Nest Youth Worker. Health professionals continued to monitor the babies growth and one twin was falling dramatically behind. Despite this stress, Mel was doing well at maintaining the property, staying positive and preparing for the babies and keeping up with her schoolwork. At 32 weeks Mel started to get contraction-like pains and doctors noted that both babies had stopped growing and she had developed pre-eclampsia. Due to the fear and risk of being found by her violent ex-partner Mel was admitted to hospital under a pseudonym for a c-section.
We’re pleased to say both baby girls were delivered safe and sound with the littlest having a bit of a stay in hospital to gain some weight. Mel was able to rebuild a relationship with her parents and three months after the birth Mel exited the Nest program and moved into long-term accommodation close to her family.
Without our support perhaps Mel’s experience would have been very different.
We wish Mel and her baby girls all the very best for the future.