Automatic language translation
Our website uses an automatic service to translate our content into different languages. These translations should be used as a guide only. See our Accessibility page for further information.
I was taken into care with my four sisters when I was 12 years old, because my dad hurt my mum.He hurt her so badly that it was basically a relief to be taken into care. At first, my sisters and I went to live with our grandmother, but eventually we were split up. Since then, I have lived in at least 10 different places. Moving around a lot was hard because each house was the home of a stranger, and I felt nervous doing simple things like getting food from the fridge.
I was pretty angry back then. I have experienced some awful things. I didn’t know how to make sense of it all, so I responded with anger. Sometimes I’d lash out at other kids in the homes I lived in. It’s scary to come into care. I pushed that fear and anger onto other people. It was my way of dealing with what I had lived with.
Eventually I went to live in a residential home. But after a while I decided it would be easier to live with my boyfriend and his family.
When things were good with him, they were really good, but when they were bad it was terrible. He would push me into the wall and punch the space next to me. I was scared of him. He hurt my mind, heart and feelings. I knew that what he was doing to me wasn’t okay, but I had lived with my dad doing worse things, so I felt like I could cope.
I had a few caseworkers before I met Terri. At first I saw Terri as just another adult telling me what to do. But it didn’t take long to feel like she was different. She would answer my calls, ring me all the time, ask me what I needed and actually make those things happen. I finally felt like someone was sticking around for me and advocating for me. Every time I needed something, Terri would do everything she could to get it for me. Terri tried hard all the time and I could see that in everything she did. The way Terri spoke and did things for me showed me that she actually cared about me. It was nice to feel like someone was in my corner.
Then, at 15, I found out I was pregnant with Ava. At the time I was living with my boyfriend. One day he pushed me hard to the ground. It was in that moment I decided that things needed to change. I remembered what I went through with my dad and knew that I didn’t want my baby to live with the same thing. The very next day I packed my cat and my suitcase and left.
After I left I was scared, knowing that I had nowhere to go. That’s when I called Terri. I knew Terri would help me and she did. She found me a place to stay and eventually found me a place of my own – a place where I could set up Ava’s room and get ready for her arrival.
Giving birth to Ava was one of the best moments of my life. I was in labour for four hours and am thankful to Ava for not giving me a hard time when she was born! I was so proud and happy to show Terri the little person that I had made when Terri came to visit us in hospital.
Not long after Ava was born, I went and lived at a Young Parents Program for eight months. It was pretty scary as they had their own ideas about parenting. Some days were tough, and I would often call Terri and tell her I couldn’t keep going. But Terri would always reassure me and let me know she was trying to make things better for both me and Ava. Each time Terri reminded me of that, I opened myself back up to learning from the program. I now know that Terri was right. It was the best place for me and Ava at the time.
Each time Terri reminded me of that, I opened myself back up to learning from the program. I now know that Terri was right. It was the best place for me and Ava at the time.
Since leaving the Young Parents Program I have been caring for Ava on my own. I’m now 18 and studying youth work because I want to make a difference for other kids like Terri did for me. I never thought anyone cared about me until Terri came into my life. I had never had someone that would stick by my side and speak up for me. Terri was someone who would say ‘no, she deserves this, she needs this’. Terri did this for me, and now I want to do this for others.
30 Mar 2023
We acknowledge Aboriginal people as the First Nations Peoples of NSW and pay our respects to Elders past, present, and future.
Informed by lessons of the past, Department of Communities and Justice is improving how we work with Aboriginal people and communities. We listen and learn from the knowledge, strength and resilience of Stolen Generations Survivors, Aboriginal Elders and Aboriginal communities.
You can access our apology to the Stolen Generations.