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A journey to independence

A young blonde child smiles at the camera while riding past on a scooter.

Each November Mercy Community celebrates ‘Transition to Adulthood Month Queensland’, highlighting the needs of young people taking their first step from out-of-home care to adulthood when they turn 18. This year the theme is ‘Participation’, empowering and educating young people on their rights and helping them be a part of the decisions that impact their lives. We’re proud to share a story from our Family and Young People Residential Care service, of a young girl, Jessica, who has made the transition out of care and the resilience of her younger sister Sarah.

The background

Tragically, the girls lost both their Mother and Father when they were young and although there will never be anything that can replace their parents, Mercy Community was there to offer them support. Both young women were welcomed into residential care with open arms and due to Sarah’s young age she joined one of our first pre-adolescent residential care programs in 2015.

How did Mercy Community help?

Mercy Community offers care and support for children, young people, and families who are experiencing hardship, with residential care being one of the ways we can help change the lives of young people in a positive and supportive way. As well as offering support, we like to help the people we care for live their best lives and prepare them for the transition to independence. For Sarah, independence took the form of a scooter – she had her heart set on having one of her own someday. So, when she was presented the gift of a new scooter, she was quick to try it out and meet up with her friends, allowing her to travel further and learn new tricks. You can tell the effect that the gift had on her, as when she turned 16, she had saved enough money to purchase an e-scooter, broadening her horizons even further and giving her more independence than ever before.

The outcome

Jessica and Sarah moved programs in 2022, and several years later when Jessica turned 18, she moved into her own unit close by and still comes to the house to visit Sarah on a regular basis. Sarah is now a 16-year-old young woman who attends school daily and TAFE. She looks forward to making her transition to independence soon, in the meantime, Mercy Community will be there to support her every step of the way, we are proud to see these young women grow.

Thank you to our Family and Young People Residential Care service for all the time, effort and love that they have given Jessica and Sarah. What really touches our heart is that even after all these years, Sarah still says that Mercy Community is her family, and we consider ourselves lucky to be part of their journey.

Over 600 young people throughout Queensland transition from care to independence each year, although unlike Jessica and Sarah, some people still don’t have access to the care they need. You can find out more about Transition to Adulthood Month Queensland’ here.

*All names in this case study have been changed to protect the privacy of the people we support.

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