21 October 2020

Michael was living in our residential care program when COVID-19 hit meaning he was unable to return to country to visit his family during the school holidays.

Image: A young boy fishing

Michael* is an energetic and kind Aboriginal boy who was in Life Without Barriers care when the first wave of COVID-19 hit Australia. Previously, each school holidays Michael would travel back to his community to see his family, but public health orders restricted all movement meaning his trip had to be cancelled. This was devastating for Michael who thrives on his attachment to family and culture. The entire local team got together to brainstorm and comb through their networks to find a way for Michael to still experience a ‘holiday’ and a change of scenery from residential care. They were also looking for someone who could give him that one-on-one connection over the school break, that as a young boy he really needed. The team managed to find a local foster carer who was able to assist.

Michael could become very anxious about new circumstances and change so with a developmentally-focused lens in place, the team put together visual aids and social stories to help Michael understand the transition to the carer’s home and back to his residential home that would occur during the school holidays.

This preparatory work, along with Michael’s patience and resilience, helped create a wonderful ‘holiday’ during which Michael and the carer played basketball, went fishing and many other activities Michael enjoys doing. Michael even made a storybook about the holiday and all the fun he had! We have seen a great outcome for Michael. He is now in kinship care with a family member and back in his community, and we hope this holiday remains a wonderful memory of his time in Life Without Barriers' care.

*Names and imagery have been changed to protect privacy.

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