The Mercy Kinnected Program in Toowoomba has now been established for over 12 months. The program focusses on finding kinship carers for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who go into care.
Melinda*, 14 years old, was placed in a residential care setting as there were no family-based placements available in her local area. Melinda’s mental health quickly deteriorated. She became depressed and began to self-harm. Melinda refused to attend school and then due to COVID-19, wasn’t able to engage with any family for a few weeks.
Through the Kinnected Program, a number of family members were identified. It was quickly settled that mum’s brother Steve* would be willing and able to become her kinship carer. Due to Melinda’s poor mental health, she was placed with Steve under a family contact arrangement, while he was being assessed as a kinship carer. Melinda was pleased to be close to her family members and friends, returned to high school and is now fully engaged in family and school life. She has regular, unsupervised contact with her mum every week, supported by her Uncle Steve. Melinda bought her Uncle Steve a coffee mug as a Father’s Day gift to show him how much she appreciated him caring for her.
Melinda and Uncle Steve continue to be supported by our Intensive Intervention Placement Service team in Toowoomba.
*At Mercy Community we respect everyone we support. So while their stories are true, names and images have been changed to protect their privacy. Thank you for understanding.