Posted on June 28, 2016 by Iosis

Stevie standing in the gardenCrime was the only way Stevie knew how to survive. But in prison, and pregnant, she hit rock-bottom. Without help to change, Stevie knew her baby would be removed from her care. That’s when she turned to Iosis’s Merivale Whanau Development Centre.

Stevie was confident she could handle whatever it took to keep her child. However, she found it difficult adjusting to the structure and boundaries of Merivale’s residential parenting programme.

These are designed to teach a new way of life, but for someone fresh out of prison it seemed like losing personal freedom all over again. Several times in her first two months there, she almost gave up. However, with the encouragement of the many people working with her, she persevered for the sake of her daughter.

At Merivale, Stevie received counselling to find healing for past hurts. She also learnt about the importance of parent/child attachment and how to bond with her baby. These two things—counselling and parent education—have transformed Stevie’s outlook.

“I never imagined myself coming out of my past to this new, totally different person. Like being truthful to myself, and not having associates that are bad,” says Stevie. “Life is more than I would have ever imagined without my baby. Now life for me is the best.”

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