Stacey's story - compelling and honest

Hi everyone I'm Stacey I am a member and an active volunteer for the Child Protection Party. I wouldn't say I have a particular role I just fill in where needed and am the last minute queen of trying to pull things together at the last minute when things haven't gone to plan. I'm particularly active around voting time organising our volunteers for polling booths etc etc.

I always look to Avery for support he is my go to man. I joined the Party for many reasons but in particular to see change within the DCP sector I have my own experiences I will explain better below.

I like to think I am the people's voice as the only experience I have to offer is my own. All the legal and political side of things is a learning progress for me.

Other than the Child Protection Party, I am Mum of four so am kept quite busy.
This year I am studying to become a youth worker so I can have some first hand experience of the system from the professional side of the table and hopefully use this experience to aid Tony and join a charity to aid in the return of children whose parents have or are doing the right things for their children to return. Why??

I was a foster child I grew up in the system I was placed in care as young as 6 months old placed under the guardianship by 3 years old. I was a child who should have been removed, so by no means do I believe all parents can parent or should be parents. What I do know is growing up in the system is also not a place to grow up. I strongly believe if you remove a child from and unsafe situation the care you provide them better be much more superior to the care they were receiving.

I was lucky for the first years of foster care this was the case my foster mother was amazing and taught me the fundementals in life, cooking, cleaning love, caring, compassion, strength, family, instilled morals she did her job right until my placement broke down. I was then moved and the care provided to me was not any better than my first few years of my being. I was sexually assaulted after running away from a foster carer who had slapped my face kicked me out christmas eve and was just a lazy ass and life in care after all this was just a rebellious rage, full of drugs, alcohol older men who could keep me safe, jail and very stupid decisions.

I cant fault all my carers im sure they tried and some I remember as amazing but I was very damaged. But there are many carers who made life feel like hell, like my being alive's soul purpose was to be a slave to them, I was just a paycheck. I ended up in Resi care. No place for anyone. But I always try now to look to the positives and that was finally I landed the best social workers so I wasn't just a number in the system I was a person and I was heard.

Although I continued to do everything I shouldn't my social workers were always in my corner, teaching me, providing me with other options, aiding my ability to grow up a normal member of society. I never felt judged and am proud to say I'm still friends with these workers.

I met and lost many people during this time other care children who stories had worse endings and beginnings, some who ended their own life, some who still fight for each day to just be normal, some who fought the system, won and then was made to sign a gag order so their wrong doings could not be made public! And some who have survived the system and done awesome things. The list goes on.

I fell pregnant at 17 had a my first child at 18 I quit drugs, removed all negative people from my life and eventually moved house to suit our needs. Becoming a Mum all I knew was I was not going to be anything like my sperm donor or sperm donor carrier (biological mother and father) I was going to provide my child/ren with nothing but love and care and be the best Mum I could. And my children would never enter the system. I was the best mother I could have been.
I went on to have another child at 22 then again at 28.

I parented all my children and two others I had taken on (not officially) but two teenagers whom needed some extra support (they still call me mum now) all my kids were happy, healthly amazing children they excelled at school and childcare. I was a netball coach for my older two and was an active member of the school committee.

I completed my year 12 and passed child studies in particular top of the class.
I then at age 30 had what the mental health doctors described as a situational crisis (meaning something went horribly wrong I wasn't equipt to deal with and wasn't coping with in that moment) I rang DCP for help I mean THEY WERE MY PARENT I thought they would help.

They did not.

They came in spoke with me told me what an amazing job and parent I was and left me to try and deal with what I wasn't capable of at that time.
They offered no support although I begged, they said they didn't have the resources and they closed my case.

Weeks later making it just after Easter 2015 DCP rocked up due to a notification being made due to a DV incident which had occurred (it wasn't a DV incident) but police were called to my house for an incident I won't deny my children shouldn't have witnessed but I make no apology for the action my partner at the time (the kids father) did. He called out a very close family friend as being a pedophile and causing what you know as to be the cause of my situation crisis. This caused a VOILENT outrage in my front yard between the two. And then and argument between my partner at the time and me as I wasn't ok with how that all went down. He threatened to then kill anyone who had any involvement and took off, he was angry and had all rights to be.

DCPs questions were all about couples counselling I agreed to do this but could not answer for my partner at the time and he had gone awol. DCP and I were going round in circles so I got cross and said it was time for them to leave in which they kept going I then proceeded to tell them to leave. In that moment the male worker was very clear his words being WELL IM GOING TO REMOVE YOUR CHILDREN THEN!!

And he wasn't lying that very same night (although my children were not a risk) workers and police had rocked up. I already had pre arranged my partner at the time grandparents to collect my children in the event DCP followed through and organised his mother to come from Melbourne to take care of the kids until this was sorted.

The police also rocked up and arrested my partner at the time and delievered me with in hours of the arrest an intervention order which was not wanted. This was due to the threat to kill anyone involved.

In one night my worst nightmare had come to life!! My children taken my partner arrested and was allowed no contact and myself a fricken mess!!

What came to follow was just more nightmares , corruption, lack of care for my children, refusal to return, lies, lies and more lies no real evidence of any kind!!

I turned to drugs! They helped in the moment!

How was I supposed to fight workers who knew me when I was in care and held grudges or just remembered me as that lost cause in care???

I kept fighting!! I did course after course. I got support letter after support letter, none of it made a difference! DCP wanted to keep my kids 1 worker in particular worked the system to try and ensure this. This same worker was a youth worker in the resi care units when I lived there I used to call her horse face I made her life hell and she put assault charges on me at one point. From this point on I will refer to her as horseface for legal reasons.

The man who removed my children was a student of my social worker at the end of my time in care the person he knew was not the person I had become.

In 2016 I fell pregnant, stopped all drug use and was in trial to get my other kids back.

Until trial hit I was unaware it wasnt up to DCP it was up to a judge as to whether my children came home, this hit home I knew what I had to do!! And that was tell the absolute truth. Admit my faults, explain any situation that was a concern and show the judge the bullshit!! Disprove their lies. Show the judge what sort of mother I really was not the one I was being told I was.

I wasn't aware of CPP or Tony at this stage so I was on my own. I had to do this all myself.

6 hours I sat on a stand 6 hours I was questioned over and over the same questions over and over like they expected a different answer, I was telling the truth so there was no different answer. The same question asked a different way doesn't get a different answer to the truth.

I hope DCP took note of how that was done, no prep work nothing just me and all my honesty.

I won 2 of children back. Lost my eldest to the 18 GOM and the only reason written in the court documents by the judge was because she said she didn't want to come home when she met with the judge.

Horseface planned it so well that when she met with the judge my daughter was mad and upset with me, I had just told her I was pregnant and she thought I was trying to replace her, she met with the judge the next day even though we had tried to get her in for months prior to this (the story doesn't end there, there's a happy ending for all)

I had my baby and both children who I had won back (sounds like they were a fricken prize to be won grrr, grinds my gears) returned by the end of 2017. One DCP office returned my son and removed the order long before it was even due to be up. My younger daughter still case managed by horseface we had to take back to court as nothing was progressing, the judge laid down the law and reunification began literally that week.

After finally moving offices for my eldest away from the child stealing vengeful horse faced woman she also returned home by August 2018 she was self placed home. Order to be removed on DCPs part however we elected for this not to happen as she was promised independent living which she took up on late 2019 and is doing great with the support of both myself and DCP. Her social worker is amazing and one we need more of, she's also read the files and her herself doesn't under stand where more so why the removal came into play.

The lack of care my children were provided in care, the damaged they caused, the trauma they caused the things which happened to my children in care I will be forever picking up the pieces and guiding my children in the right direction. This on its own is a different story again. My home never saw this much trauma they failed in their duty of care big time. My older two children have their own stories and want to change the system also.

I am a survivor of both sides of the system, I am strong, I am loud, I am educated and I will SAY IT LOUD AND SAY IT PROUD!! Ive already lived my worst nightmare, been so far down there was no light to the top and im still standing a little broken but nothing that cant be healed all in good time! I have strong morals and all for ensuring children come first. WHEN cos I'm past ifs WHEN change happens you bet you'll see my face somewhere in there. I don't lose when im fighting for what's right!

But this is a short version of my very very long story and THESE ARE JUST SOME OF THE REASONS FOR MY PASSION TO HELP CPP SUCCEED!! CHILDREN NEED A VOICE!