Children should run and play, not run away

A relationship breakdown left Jen, two-year-old Mia and five-year-old Liam with nowhere to live.

Your donation can help keep children like two-year-old Mia and five-year-old Liam safe.

Jen was determined to protect her children at all costs but faced an unimaginable dilemma through circumstance and no fault of her own.

A relationship breakdown left Jen, two-year-old Mia and five-year-old Liam with nowhere to live. With no other options, Jen moved in with her mother who has a history of living with mental health issues.

It didn’t take long for Jen to realise how serious her mother’s condition was nor did she envision how erratic and turbulent her mother could get. Jen found her children were living in a state of constant fear but felt helpless that she could not go elsewhere.

At times, the only answer was to lock herself and her two children in a bedroom, hoping that the danger would pass.

Jen is a brave young woman, but her children were most at risk of the long-term effects of living in danger or worse becoming homeless.

Jen’s caseworker, Karen, explains what an environment like this can do to a child.

“If children are living in constant fear it can stop them focussing on anything but the fear itself. A teacher at school might be talking to them but they’re looking out for noises or things that can hurt them, so they can’t concentrate.”

It was clear Jen’s family desperately needed somewhere else to live.

Unfortunately, over the last year, 28 percent of people that desperately needed support from our Wesley Homeless Services were children under the age of 18 and over 30 percent of people were sole parents like Jen.

Jen’s only choice was to live on the streets or stay with her mother, despite knowing her children would be exposed to a dangerous environment.

Jen faced a choice that no parent should ever have to make.

After a number of months, Jen and her children found a safe place to live.

Each day in Australia, a staggering 261 people experiencing homelessness ask for assistance but can’t be helped, and the consequences can be debilitating.

Jen’s children, Mia and Liam are safe now but there are many children out there that still need a safe place to live.

However it is not just about having a roof over your head -some families require much more support.

Apart from meeting the primary need for housing, we often need to provide counselling support, meals, legal support and medical assistance.

Jen still needs our help and we’ll continue to stay in touch with a range of support options until she gets back on her feet.

Wesley Mission will always help people most in need, but we are challenged daily by the ever-increasing demand for our services.

With your help, we can reach out to more families with children that are facing a crisis as we speak.

*Names and photos have been changed to protect privacy.

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Wesley Mission is part of the Uniting Church in Australia, Charity Number ABN 42 164 655 145, is endorsed by the Australian Taxation Office as a Deductible Gift Recipient, and therefore gifts of two dollars ($2) or more to Wesley Mission in each State or Territory are tax deductible for the donor. All donations are directly used by Wesley Mission Community Services Pty Ltd.

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