I too have quite a long story just like Stacey. I read your story to the end Stacey and you are my inspiration for what I do also. Unlike Avery I did not have such a nice childhood,
I was not removed from my family like Stacey was, but should have been. We were constantly terrorised by a violent psychopathic father and my mother was too terrified to make a sound.
Life was challenging for myself and my siblings, but as happens in some families there is a target child that takes the brunt of the majority of the abuse, and that child was me.
I was never going to turn out like either of my parents if it was the last thing I did. I have 9 children (2 step-children, 5 biological children and 2 permanent foster children).
I completed my diploma of community service 8 years ago with a six-month-long placement at child protection in Victoria. This is where I met my little guy who was 2 years old. We connected immediately. He had 6 placements in the 5 months I assisted on his case and 2 of these were in resi care due to no placement in the state being willing to take him on. He has a profound disability and life long life-threatening medical conditions and also major behaviour concerns including severe autism (he is a beautiful little soul that had received the nickname of 'Chucky' by certain case managers (shame on them).
We spent many many hours at the Royal Children's Hospital and I spent many months being trained on how to take excellent care of him. For a little boy who was not expected to make his 3rd birthday, he is now a thriving 10-year-old.
His little sister was born when he was 3 and a half and the department gave the parents a second chance. She ended up with an aunt and uncle and we provided respite every weekend until it became obvious that the separation of the two on a weekly basis was traumatising. Still, it took 6 months to fight to have them permanently placed together but that is another whole story of its own.
I have witnessed case managers perpetrate more harm and trauma onto these two amazing little people than either of their parents, including an incident that almost killed our little guy 2 years ago. My complaints went as high as ministers and still nothing was done to discipline or charge certain case managers, it was all justified and brushed under the carpet.
My passion comes from the way I was raised, my passion comes from what I have witnessed as a case manager, my passion comes from what I have endured as a foster carer (a complete book in the making),
My passion comes from hearing stories like Stacey's and knowing most kids should and could go home but don't.
I will take my last breath in this world defending the rights of all children to have a loving and positive childhood. I am currently studying for my Bachelor in Behavioural Science and helping out with the CPP as their policy director. I have recently finished a course through Harvard University on the Convention of the Rights of the Child and how to incorporate this into the child protection system to facilitate positive and lasting change. I also volunteer for Children's Ground as my little miss is Indigenous (she has a different father to her brother).
Some of the most disturbing abuses of children that I have witnessed have sadly been at the hands of those who are employed in a position of protecting children,
THIS MUST CHANGE, IT IS NOT NEGOTIABLE.