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Getting back on track

Izzy's* life was veering off-course at the age of 14. She was using drugs, engaging in criminal behaviour and had stopped attending school. Izzy was also at high risk of sexual exploitation, intentionally seeking out older men online.

Izzy lived with her dad, who had very positive intentions, but as a young father was really struggling to connect with his daughter. Izzy's mother was not able to care for her due to her own mental health problems, and Izzy was starting to drift.

Residential care seemed like the best place for Izzy at the time, yet she was unable to secure a longstanding placement and moved through several homes in a matter of months. The stability she needed seemed to become even more distant when she was moved into secure welfare – a temporary and secure placement for high risk children – for three weeks.

During this time, Izzy gained a lot of perspective. She realised that the stable home she was craving had been there all along, but she would need help to make it work. She moved back home with her dad and started to engage in a range of support services to assist the transition, including taking part in a Targeted Care Package (TCP) with MacKillop. TCPs are tailored support packages focused on enabling a child to transition from residential care into an alternative living arrangement.

Ady, her MacKillop TCP Case Manager, has seen a remarkable transformation in the eight months she's been supporting her. At the start of this time, Izzy was barely attending school at all. By the end of 2021, she was going four days per week. Ady helped Izzy enrol in a new school so she can attend VCAL in 2022, something she is really looking forward to.

Izzy has also stopped using drugs. With the support of YSAS (Youth Support and Advocacy Service), she created a relapse prevention plan to help her stay sober which includes things like listening to music. It's been eight months and Izzy has no intention of using drugs again.

Equine therapy and regular psychology sessions have been critical to these changes. Izzy has developed a love for horses and now wants to learn to ride.

MacKillop has also supported Izzy's father to build his parenting skills so he can better manage challenging behaviours and develop strong boundaries.

Izzy is settled at home, has a safe and loving relationship with her dad and they have really strong boundaries now.

– Ady, Izzy's TCP Case Manager at MacKillop

Izzy is keen to learn carpentry and join the army when she's older. She's starting cadets next month to work towards these goals. Izzy has also started to look for part time work around her studies.

Ady reflects how far Izzy has come in such a short time. "She just needed a routine and some things to do. She's a very driven young girl and she sees a future with positive goals in mind."

It was a huge leap to move back home with her dad, but with determination and support, Izzy now has the stable home she has always craved.

*Name changed to protect privacy.