Putting his best foot forward

Posted on 20 November 2017 by Rachel Dale

A very special moment happened for a 12 year old boy last month.

Jake* represented his school in a regional athletics event, supported by his foster carers Kim and Sean*. He came first in both the 100m and 200m events, and has now progressed to state finals.

This achievement is especially remarkable because just 12 months ago, Jake was disengaged from school and sleeping under a slide in a local park. Jake was too scared to go home. His parents were violent towards each other and Jake felt unsafe. Jake's parents are refugees from war-torn African nations and may both have experienced significant trauma before arriving in Australia.  

When he came into foster care last October, Jake had been disconnected from his community for an extended period of time.

He has become much more settled since entering care with Kim and Sean. He has only absconded on one occasion because he was missing his mother, and he is now attending counselling regularly.

Jake has moved to the local school where he is engaging in his education. He has made many new friends and is well liked by his peers. Kim and Sean say Jake always has friends calling in to see if he can come and play.

Jake is on a reunification case plan, meaning his foster carers, his parents, and our MacKillop Case Manager are all working to have Jake return home when it is safe. Kim and Sean attend his care team meetings along with Jake's mum, who they have developed a positive relationship with.

Kim and Sean are committed to ensuring Jake stays connected to his culture. They are open to taking Jake to cultural events and attending with his mum. They drive one and a half hours in each direction so Jake can attend a hairdresser who specialises in African hair. Kim and Sean have also purchased ingredients for a traditional African meal they are planning to cook and share with friends.

Jake is a well-liked, polite young man who has a long-term placement available to him with Kim and Sean if required. They remain very committed to Jake's care and he is accepted by his carer family and local community. 

Recently Jake was given the opportunity by his carers to watch Usain Bolt sprint in Melbourne. Jake has sporting talent with a passion for sprinting, and if nurtured has the potential to become an elite sports person in the future.

Jake is over the moon about his recent achievement and his carers say “we’re so proud of him”.

*Name changed and model imaged used for privacy reasons.