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Dean is a Supported Housing Coach and has been at YMCA MK for nearly 2 years. He has a background in working with care experienced children and with young offenders.

Dean is our parenting lead and is the first port of call for YMCA MK residents who are parents, particularly if they are having any issues around maintaining contact. Dean has personal experience of this and understands not only the importance of maintaining contact and but also how hard it can be navigating the correct legal process.

A recent study by the University of Northampton found that 21% of young people living at YMCA MK were parents – we expect this number to be higher as not all young people are willing to disclose this information. It is predominantly our male residents who are fathers who need Dean’s support although on occasion he has supported female residents who are mothers.

Studies suggest that maintaining contact with their father leads to higher levels of sociability, confidence, and self-control in children. Dean’s own experience reinforces this and makes him passionate about supporting our residents maintain contact with their children.

Dean is able to support our residents navigate the process. He typically supports residents to;

  • Set up an initial mediation session, this can be challenging if the relationship has broken down acrimoniously.
  • Speak to Universal Credit to ensure they are getting the correct financial support.
  • Put in place a C100, a contact order stating that you are asking for help to settle a dispute surrounding access to children.
  • Support residents throughout the process, which can be stressful, ensuring that what is best for the child remains at the forefront of any actions.

Recently, Dean has been supporting a resident who wanted to see his child. With Dean’s help he found out that not only was his child living in another county, but his child had also been put in foster care without his knowledge. With Dean’s support the resident was able to visit his child weekly in a contact centre. Dean was eventually able to support the resident find move-on accommodation closer to his child.

Dean is currently supporting a number of young people at YMCA gain and maintain contact with their children. This needs a huge amount of regular support, he tries to meet formally with each resident every 2 weeks but informal support can be daily and ranges from phone calls, quick catch-ups to text messages.

YMCA MK supports an average of over 400 young people every year. We offer so much more than just a room, we provide practical, emotional and employment support to ensure our residents can belong, contribute and thrive. Supporting residents with their children is an important part of what we do.