Transitioning from care can be a scary time for some young people. From learning to live more independently, and managing a household and finances, through to finding a job, it can all be a bit overwhelming. Thankfully, one young person is flourishing in their transition from care, which they say has a lot to do with the support of their residential carers and case worker.
When Hannah* first went into care three years ago, their future did not look so bright and they were struggling with their mental health. Hannah’s case worker at the time recommended that Hannah get involved with volunteering with Riding for the Disabled as Hannah had a passion for horses and the case worker thought doing something new might help their mental health. And this was just what Hannah needed; even three years on, Hannah heads to the stables every Monday morning to help assist the coach and prepare the horses for the riding sessions.
Hannah started transitioning from care at 16 years old and felt supported by their carers from the very start.
“The resi staff are very supportive, they help as much as they can, or if they can’t, they will send us to someone who can,” Hannah said. “All the carers in the house communicate on everything, having consistent carers in the house helps too.”
Hannah and their care team meet up every two months to see how they can improve Hannah’s care, something that is driven both by Hannah and the carers. Hannah’s culture is also consistently supported from Uniting Country SA’s Aboriginal youth group and the residential care team who have helped Hannah create a genogram and family tree outlining Hannah’s ancestry.
Hannah’s case worker, Lorraine Richens, said Hannah is constantly working towards gaining as many skills and qualifications as they can to secure their future, which is evident when Hannah begins to tell us what they have been working on to prepare for life outside of care.
In addition to volunteering, Hannah is also doing a traineeship as a School Services Officer at the local primary school one day per week as part of their SACE.
“I love the kids. I always wanted to teach and help kids, and make sure they have a better childhood than I did, and to have a better future,” Hannah said.
‘I am really enjoying it, this is definitely something I want to do in the future.”
And just when we thought Hannah couldn’t fit any more into their week, they announce that they are just about to start a new job at the local hospital assisting with the COVID administration team.
Hannah says being busy helps with their mental health.
“Being busy makes me feel better. If I wasn’t [busy] I’d feel consumed by my mind. And I want to make my sister proud,” Hannah said.
Hannah is ‘nervous but excited’ about transitioning from care. They are currently waiting for an independent living placement but in the meantime Hannah is learning to drive. This has been made harder as Hannah can only go driving with their case worker as ‘we can’t use the resi cars to practise due to insurance’. Hannah is trying to get as much advice from their carers as they can, to be more independent.
“My carers help me with me finances, they teach me how to manage money and remind me to put money in the bank to save. I always ask them for advice,” Hannah said.
“I am also trying to be more independent with my medication by setting up alarms for when to take them, rather than relying on carers to remind me.”
“I am feeling a lot more hopeful about the future, knowing I have jobs in place and the support systems around me.”
Lorraine said Hannah’s care team is also excited to see Hannah realise their ambitions.
Hannah’s advice to other young people transitioning from care is listen to the advice from their carers and case worker.
“Carers can only do as much as you’re willing to let them do. Take advice that carers are willing to offer, they know what they are saying.”
*Hannah has given us permission to use their first name