Making Aotearoa New Zealand
the best place to raise children
in flourishing families

The difference Out of Gate makes

Life for Kiriana* was a destructive cycle. She was unemployed, violent towards her children and alcohol ruled her life.

“I used to go to sleep drunk and wake up drunk and that was my life. I was totally lost.”

Kiriana’s destructive habits saw her to spend 11 months at Arohata Prison in Tawa where she was forced to face her past and think of her future.

“When I was in prison I was asked to write down my goals and I realised I had none. That day I went back to my cell and cried and cried. I didn’t know how to put my goals into words.”

It was that moment that Kiriana realised she needed to turn her life around.

“Jail made me realise what I was missing on the outside. My first goal was to be a better mother to my kids. They suffered big time. I also wanted to get a qualification so I could get a job.”

While in prison Kiriana achieved 19 certificates and a level two qualification in cooking. She also did counselling to help her manage her emotions and become a better mother.

On 6 November 2013 Kiriana was released from Arohata Prison. She was offered a Family Works Out of Gate navigator to meet her on release to help her integrate back into the community, but she turned down the service.

“I didn’t want to do it at first. I’d been given empty promises before by providers that never went through with the help they said they were going to give me, so I thought Family Works would be the same.”

A few months after her release, Kiriana’s nephew died in a car accident and she felt herself moving towards a dark place once again.

“I saw the navigator’s card on the fridge, so I decided to give them a call. It was the best phone call I’ve ever made in my life.”

The support from Family Works gave Kiriana the help she needed to stay on track without ruining the great progress she had made.

“Sometimes it was just about my navigator giving me words of encouragement and having someone to talk to,” Kiriana explains.

“My navigator helped me with my C.V. and job searching and I ended up getting my first cooking job. They gave me food parcels when my family needed them and I went to a Family Works parenting course. They may think the things they gave me weren’t much, but it meant a lot to me.”

A year has passed since Kiriana left Arohata Prison. Although she has finished the Out of Gate programme, she knows Family Works services will always be available to her and her family.

“It makes life better knowing that I can call them anytime if I need to and there are people that really do care.”

Since prison, Kiriana has written down all her goals and has ticked them all off. She no longer abuses alcohol or her children and family life couldn’t be better.

“Going to jail wasn’t a punishment. It was a blessing because I got my family back. My kids tell me they love me every day even after what I put them through,” says Kiriana.

“It’s been a hard road but nothing’s ever easy. I would definitely recommend the Out of Gate programme to others. Before I found help I was lost, but now I’ve finally found the real me.”

The Out of Gate programme, funded by the Department of Corrections, sees Family Works working alongside women before and after release, helping them to identify what they need in order to settle back into the community without re-offending.

* names and details have been changed to protect the privacy of our client.

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