Connor is 6 years old and he has 2 younger siblings. His mother, Joanna, had been in a violent relationship and was struggling as a parent. She could no longer expose herself or her children to the situation - so she bravely stepped out on her own. She had no support network of family or friends and no transport at this point.
Connor came to the attention of the school as he was not attending school regularly. When he was there, he was playing up and spent most of his time in the office. He was always tired and was never equipped with the right clothng for the weather or a decent lunch. The school asked for SunnyKids' help to ensure that Connor stayed engaged with his education.
We got to meet Connor and then the rest of his family because of his behaviour at school. We soon learned that Joanna couldn’t walk her three children to school due to distance and this resulted in Connor’s poor attendance. On top of that they were running out of food regularly and had no money to pay household bills. We provided emergency relief so there was food on the table at every meal time. We had their electricity put back on and organised some new uniforms for Connor and clothes for the other children. We helped Joanna apply for permanent housing and a family support worker helped with parenting education around managing young children, budgeting and daily routines (such as getting Connor ready for school).
Within just three months the family saw positive progress with Connor improving at school in attendance, behaviour, concentration, grades and health. Thanks to sponsorship for Connor, not only is he fully engaged at school, but the whole family is doing better. With more confidence and trust, Joanna emerged as a self-assured parent. She has enrolled in TAFE and is also looking forward to a brighter future.
Mary & Justin – Mother & Son
Justin had known family abuse his whole life. Tragically, this daily situation was his 'norm' and he knew no differently - so Justin was displaying the same agressive behaviour he was witnessing at home, when he went to school. The cycle of disadvantage was repeating itself for another generation. Justin's mother, Mary, had grown up with an abusive father, experiencing his violence first hand as a child. She left home and married the first man she fell in love with, ending up being married for 15 years to a man who physically, verbally and emotionally abused both her and the children.
Justin and his siblings came to the attention of the school and as a result the family was referred to the Domestic Violence Hotline. Through diligent school teachers and the generous sponsorship of Justin, crisis accommodation was found with SunnyKids for him and his family in order to break the cycle.
Immediate assistance was required to support the entire family by providing crisis accommodation. Justin was showing aggressive behaviour at school as well as social and learning problems believed to be the result of abuse. But with the right support of ongoing emotional support through counselling, Justin started to settle down and has been gradually improving ever since. Support and guidance for Justin and his family has been ongoing for 2 years with help like transitioning to independent living arrangements, legal support, counselling, medical and paediatric appointments. We are still in touch with the family and Justin and his siblings are finally settled, doing well socially, emotionally and educationally.