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Parenting programme helps Wodonga father turn his life around

21 Oct 2013

With support from Gateway Community Health’s Positive Parenting programme, Aboriginal man Samuel* is getting his life back on track.

A former heroin addict who had lived on the streets in Melbourne, Samuel had no contact with his two young children. His son and daughter were placed in kinship care with their aunt after their mother died.

Determined to reunite with his children, Samuel moved to Wodonga to be closer to family support and contacted Gateway Community Health, a local organisation supported by the Australian Government.

Samuel was linked with a parenting educator to start the Positive Parenting Programme to help build on his current parenting skills and knowledge. 

He attended weekly appointments to work through the programme at a slow and steady pace. Samuel had a low literacy level, as he only attended school until year 8, so the programme was delivered verbally and he was not asked to write anything down.

After completing the parenting course Samuel went to court to gain custody of both of his children.  His son was returned to his care on a nine month order with instructions to continue with the parent support team. 

His son was enrolled into the closest primary school where he has settled in well, made friends quickly and broken a long-standing school high jump record. Samuel has also enrolled his son into a boxing class and is on the waiting list to engage with a young boy’s Indigenous cultural group.

Custody of Samuel’s daughter is still being contested. She has an extensive drug problem and mental health issues, but Samuel believes that by being back near family he will be able to link her to her mother’s extended family and her culture.

Samuel has now been referred to Gateway’s Aboriginal case management service for longer term support for himself and his family.

*Name changed to protect client’s privacy.

Find out more

The Australian Government supports community organisations like Gateway Community Health who work with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families to build parenting skills – an important part of Closing the Gap.