Our Place connects Cherie to services to help support children in her care

The trust that was built between Cherie and Stephen during this engagement enabled a series of warm referrals to other services and interventions that have led to additional support for her family.

Cherie was raising her seven children and grandchildren as a single parent and carer. Her children’s father was not around while her grandchildren’s father had been in prison and his whereabouts were now unknown.

She was unable to work due to the challenges of raising her children and grandchildren alone, with each requiring specific care and support. One child was displaying physical abuse towards his mother and siblings, another child lives with a disability, while another was refusing to attend school. Two of the children were suspected victims of inappropriate contact with an adult. A history of trauma was endemic in the family, and little support was available from extended family.

Cherie had previously sought help from service providers for her family with limited success. Our Place was able to advocate for Cherie and her family by providing a referral to community services organisation Family Life to provide a pathway forward.

Together in consultation with Family Life, the school’s wellbeing team and Cherie’s family, a decision was made for a “self-report” from Cherie to Victorian Government support and safety hub network The Orange Door.

Further demonstrating Cherie’s strength in tough times, she exclaimed “I thought if they (the agency) can do it, so can I!”

Cherie had approached The Orange Door previously, which has been set up to help families experiencing family violence, and child and family safety and wellbeing issues, but she had not been successful in receiving ongoing support.

Family Life assisted Cherie to prepare for self-referral to The Orange Door, providing insight and support with her application for assistance. She was able to provide more details about her situation and explain her family’s needs. The Orange Door was able to begin arranging multiple supports for all the children and for Cherie.

Cherie expressed relief that “things were finally happening.”

With support being provided through The Orange Door, several of the children were able to come forward to disclose previous abuse by a carer. It became clear that this abuse had significantly added to the family’s trauma.

This effectiveness of place-based presence and the warm referrals to additional supports have contributed to an enormous impact on this family, according to Stephen.

“This intervention may have been a significant factor in creating a safe place where the children could come forward. It is important to note the strength, dedication, a willingness to do whatever it took by Cherie. Her skills, values and capabilities were visibly enhanced and encouraged throughout the intervention.”

Stephen Rose, Frankston North Community Facilitator

Reflecting on her situation, Cherie said “if you know someone is supporting you, it gives you the motivation to get going, when you felt like giving up.”

*Some details have been changed for identity purposes. Permission has been received to share this information.