Sometimes we need a little awe to reset our sense of reality when it comes to finding inspiration and we need to look no further than working with those who are most vulnerable within our communities who want to change their lives for the betterment of themselves and their children.
CQID would like to share the stories of two such people whose journey to reunite and keep their children home and the privilege of being part of their journey to do so.
In December 2017 CQID received a referral from Child Safety to support Francis and her children who had been removed from her and taken into care. CQID developed a Case Plan based on Francis’s needs which included cultural connection, support for supervised visits, phone calls, collaborate and advocate at child and family team meetings, mentoring and referrals to support agencies to start Francis’s healing journey to be reunified with her children. Francis was a willing and engaged participant in CQID’s services and programs because of her intense dedication and love for her children.
It was through Francis’s cultural identity and connection that provided her the grounding to shine. Francis through her weaving, has facilitated many workshops with CQID families in the Southern Region, and she also participated in the Wakka Wakka Language Revival workshop and the Language Nest program and proudly taught her children language. CQID provided the pathway for Francis and her children to feel their sense of self and their cultural identity which is the basis of cultural resilience.
Francis had spent many school holidays with her children since they went into care in 2017 as part of the transition to home and to help the family settle back into life together. In July 2019 Francis was enjoying time with her children (Joel aged 12 years and Charli aged 7) during the school holidays. The children proudly sat with their Mum as part of CQID’s NAIDOC stall because Francis was demonstrating her weaving skills, with many families at the 2019 Hervey Bay Family Fun Day NAIDOC event.
Francis learnt how to weave through a CQID program established to provide cultural connection and identity. At the end of the NAIDOC Family Fun Day Francis was advised by her Child Safety Officer that discussions were commencing around her children staying with her permanently and not returning into care. On the 10 July 2019 one day after the NAIDOC Family Fun Day, Francis was advised by Child Safety that her children would remain in her care and they would not be returning to foster care and that they would provide continued support to ensure a successful reunification. Child Safety and CQID continued to provide financial and emotional support to Francis and her children through the reunification journey which was continued together.
Through the support of CQID and Child Safety Francis achieved reunification with her children eight month early. Ongoing support is currently being provided from Wide Bay Women’s Health Centre (Cultural Support and connection), Triple P (Parenting Program), Australian Red Cross (Child Wellbeing), ARTIUS (Step Care Program) and Galangoor Duwalami Primary Health Care Service (Primary Health Care) who have been an integral part of Francis’s support network.
After spending nearly two years supporting Francis and her children this was an emotional moment for CQID’s FWBO Aunty Joy Bonner, who said, “it is profoundly rewarding to have been part of Francis’s family success story”.
Francis through her journey has become a strong independent and empowered Mother and now manages her own little weaving business and offers her service to other non-government agencies and their Clients where Francis is proud to share her journey and story with other parents who are just starting their journey to bring their children home.
The story she had to tell me on this day bought a smile to my face and literally warmed my heart.
Blossom is 19 years of age and has been in care since the age of 3 weeks with her two sisters. Blossom has had the blessing of being placed in a loving home and was not separated from her siblings, which is a miracle. Blossom’s Foster Mum remains invested and committed to Blossom and is an important part of Blossoms journey as a young Mum and reunification with her baby Hayley aged 5 months.
Blossom was 18 when she became pregnant, whilst this may not have been the path that Blossom would have chosen this did not deter Blossom from fighting for her baby when she was removed from her the day of her 19th birthday and two days after she was born. Blossom being raised in a loving home with a supportive Foster Mum knew she had the necessary loving environment to raise her baby. Blossom had named her baby girl Hayley, five months prior to giving birth and had purchased all the necessary items to ensure the material wellbeing of her daughter.
Blossom said the staff from CQID are fantastic and she could not have achieved getting Hayley back within six weeks if it was not for CQID and the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Services (ATSILS, Bundaberg). Blossom said, “the staff go out of their way and you do not feel like you are in a program, you just feel like you are with family”. Blossom calls her FWBO, Aunty. Blossom says the support she receives from CQID is without judgement and would not hesitate to encourage other young Mum’s to seek help, if required, from CQID to support them being the best Mum they can be. Blossom self-referred to CQID to seek support to get baby Hayley back.
Within six weeks CQID through their Family Participation Program (FPP) and Family Wellbeing Service (FWBS) and in collaboration with other stakeholders was successful in Hayley being returned to her Mum, Blossom where she belonged. Reunification requires stability and permanency which is not achieved in a moment; rather it is a process that requires a great deal of outside support. Blossom continues to receive support from Edon Place (DV counselling), Churches of Christ (Clinical Nurse consultation), Women’s Yarning Circle (Cultural Connection) and Triple P (Parent Program).
Hayley brings meaning, worth and discipline to Blossom’s life and motivates Blossom to be the best Mum she can be.
CQID acknowledges parents are equally deserving of a supportive friend on this long and difficult journey to bring their children home and CQID are proud to have been Francis’s and Blossom’s ally through their journey.
The article was provided by CQID.