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Jessica’s story: Determination and resilience breaks the cycle

16 June 2017 Stories of hope

When Jessica was five years old she was removed from her birth mother with her siblings. They returned to their natural mother three times, which was an extremely challenging time for them. Jessica was made a ward of the state and lived in multiple foster placements until the age of 19, with the majority not being positive experiences.

When Jessica was about 10 years old she moved over to Wesley Dalmar. Nigel Lindsay was the executive manager Wesley Dalmar at the time and became Jessica’s first case manager. Nigel remains a mentor for her today.

Jessica wasn’t an ‘easy’ child. She broke down a lot of placements and moved around a lot. During this difficult time she did receive wonderful support from Nigel and later from Barbara Taylor, program manager Wesley Out of Home Care Tuggerah.

When Jessica was 18 she moved back to some of the carers she had previously. During this time she paid ‘board’ and would help with groceries as she was finishing school and starting university. Jessica stayed here until she was about 19–20 years of age. Jessica knew she could stay with this family once she turned 18 but she wanted to move away from the system and try living on her own.

Jessica found a home to rent, but living independently wasn’t easy for her. Growing up, Jessica hadn’t been taught the ‘basic life skills’ that she needed to know how to manage household bills and her finances, care for her home, cook or shop. Without having any family support, it was a journey she had to take on her own.

Through her determination and resilience to break the cycle, Jessica put herself through university and completed a Bachelor of Social Science majoring in Psychology, in 2009 she started working at Wesley Dalmar and bought her first home in 2011.

Today, Jessica still works for Wesley Dalmar as team leader at Wesley Out of Home Care Tuggerah.