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ALIVE Program Provides A Fresh Start For Sam

September 28, 2016

Sam* is a 19 year old Aboriginal young man who has been in “Out of Home Care” (OOHC) from a very young age. At only 5 years old he was removed from the care of his mother due to significant risks to his safety including neglect, drug use, and violence. At that time, Sam moved into the foster care system, moving from several homes until eventually moving into group homes and later, homelessness. In the OOHC system, Sam experienced further abuse and risks to his safety and wellbeing. The instability in Sam’s life and the trauma he was experiencing led to him leaving school in year eight.

Sam joined the CatholicCare ALIVE program in July 2015 when looking for secure accommodation. At that time, he had been homeless for a year and had a number of complexities in his life which were negatively impacting on his health and wellbeing. Sam was accepted into the Rose Gallagher accommodation and was one of the first residents to move into the Rose Gallagher houses in August 2015. Sam has been living in the accommodation for the past eight months and through his commitment and hard work, he has already demonstrated he is ready to live independently.

Sam came to ALIVE with a number of clear goals for his future. With his incredible determination and dedication to his case management, he has been able to grow as a person and take steps toward the future he envisages for himself. In the past eight months, Sam has:

  • Obtained his proof of Aboriginality and worked to engage in Aboriginal services
  • Reconnected with his father and built on his relationship with his mother
  • Engaged with living skills program where he gained skills such as cooking, cleaning and budgeting
  • Enrolled into Horticulture Certificate II  at TAFE at the beginning of 2016 and is enjoying the course and learning a lot
  • Paid off all his presenting train fines** through the Work and Development Order Scheme (a scheme that allows disadvantaged individuals to engage in positive activities through registered organisations such as CatholicCare to reduce the debt related to their fines and develop positive life changes). Sam’s engaging with CatholicCare case management has now led to him having no outstanding fines
  • Demonstrated responsibility and dedication to his own personal development and as a result, his legal matters as an adult have been cleared through the courts. Sam worked with the Aboriginal Legal Service who advocated for and got him the help he needed to make a fresh start
  • Obtained help with his mental health and is currently engaging with a private specialist  psychologist with the help from CatholicCare with the cost and to lessen the burden for him
  • Engaged with the CatholicCare’s Holyoake program through to manage his challenges with drugs and alcohol
  • Engaged with CatholicCare’s parent education services to complete his Circle of Security course
  • Started accessing the Aboriginal Medical Service where he has been able to get his much needed dental work completed. They are also providing assistance to resolve his hearing impairment in one ear. 

Sam is currently working with other goals such as getting his licence and gaining a traineeship in horticulture.

Sam’s long term goals are to work in horticulture and to have/maintain stable accommodation.

The opportunity to be in the program allowed Sam to take his attention off his homelessness and focus on working through his past and taking steps towards his goals. It created an environment where his strengths and character could shine. Sam is a resilient, caring, and committed young man who has a bright future ahead of him.

*Sam’s name has been changed to protect his identity

**Train fines are a common problem for young people experiencing homelessness. Without safety, shelter, and with only limited income, young people are often required to travel without tickets to get around. Often, beds in available refuges are some distance apart and in order to get from A to B, young people have to make these difficult choices. For others, the train may be the only safe place to sleep.

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