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Dan’s exploitation by county lines gangs led to a family relationship breakdown resulting in him being asked to leave the family home.

Dan’s exploitation by county lines gangs led to a family relationship breakdown. Mediation was attempted, but the relationship became volatile following the disclosure that Dan’s ‘Dad’ wasn’t his birth father, as he had always believed. Dan’s behaviour spiralled as a result, and his mother, unable to cope with the animosity in the home, and concerned for the younger siblings, asked him to leave the family home.

The local authority became involved with the family, identifying Dan, 16, as a ‘child in need’ and agreed to help source accommodation for him. Askins Lodge was identified as suitable accommodation, with a longer-term plan to move to one of the Cottages. Due to Dan’s young age, he was unable to apply for his own South Tyneside property.

While in supported accommodation, Dan engaged well despite struggling with the rejection he felt from his family. The only family contact he now had was with grandparents who were unable to support with housing due to lack of space.

Dan was offered support to deal with his feelings and the anger he sometimes felt towards his parents for not allowing contact with his siblings and also themselves. He continued to work at gaining the skills he would need to live independently, though finances were always a struggle.

Following his 17th Birthday, Dan asked staff to support him in writing a letter to his mother, apologising for the trouble he had brought to the family home, hoping that she would see this as an olive branch and reach out to him. His letter resulted in an angry phone call from his Stepdad, rejecting all contact between Dan and the rest of his family. The following months saw a deterioration in his behaviour, he started using cannabis and often became confrontational with staff.

Dan was offered counselling with Key’s wellbeing practitioner, something he had always been reluctant to do in the past. He agreed to “give it a try” and a weekly meeting was agreed where Dan engaged well, opening up and discussing his feelings of rejection. In the following months, Dan discussed his cannabis use and steps he was taking to reduce this.

Firmly focused on his future, he started catching up with his regular personal service charge payments to become eligible to acquire his own South Tyneside home. This process is complete, and Dan is currently bidding on properties, although once successful he will continue to receive further support from the Resettlement and Retainment Team. In the meantime, he continues to thrive at Askins Lodge.

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*Please note that names may have been changed and stock photography used to preserve the anonymity of this young person

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