Rennae’s Story - Home & Family - Te Whare Manaaki Tangata - Child, Youth and Parenting Support Services

Rennae came from a background of extreme poverty and at 14 found herself pregnant and living on the streets. Despite wanting to care for her baby Cassandra, Rennae was suffering from severe post-natal depression and it didn’t work out. When Cassandra was two years old Rennae had the opportunity to have her in her care. She was referred to Home & Family and has been part of their Residential Parenting programme for nine months.

“I’ve never really had a family like this. They are amazing. They have been there with me through the hard times. Since I’ve been here I’ve changed. Parenting isn’t easy. I’ve learned a lot of skills. I’ve learned the basics about looking after Cassandra – hygiene, learning to be calm and patient, playing and taking turns, and learning to show my love for her in an appropriate way.”

Cassandra was born with special needs. Doctors were unsure whether she would be able to walk at all, and predicted development of her communication skills would be delayed. Since coming into Rennae’s care under the umbrella of Home and Family, Cassandra’s communication, both verbal and non-verbal, have greatly improved and not only is she walking, she is running.

“With the help of Home & Family staff, she’s come a long way. There’s no such thing as perfect, but I want the best for Cassandra. I want her to be happy, in a safe, calm environment, just be a normal family. If I could get the point where I could parent outside of Home & Family I would feel like a person that won a million dollars, honestly, words can’t explain it. I’d be the happiest person on the earth.”