Adam’s embracing care & taking steps to a brighter future

April 20, 2022

A difficult start in life and added trauma along the way led young Adam to develop some challenging behaviours, disengage with school and use anger as a barrier against the world.  

But the supports he has received while living in one of our Intensive Therapeutic Care homes has seen a number of small breakthroughs which are helping him to identify his emotions, modify his behaviour and re-engage with education. 

“Adam was born to parents with drug addiction and spent some time in rehab with them in his first year of life,” says CatholicCare Therapeutic Case Manager in the Permanency Support Program, Jodie.

 “Child protection services were involved in his removal from his parents and at the age of two he went into the care of his grandmother. He came to us at CatholicCare in 2018, following the death of his sister in a car accident in 2017 and the death of his father in 2012, due to a drug overdose. That was a really hard time for his grandmother and she relinquished his care at that time.” 

Initially, Adam spent some time in temporary accommodation before arriving at one of CatholicCare’s Intensive Therapeutic Care homes, which has up to four young people residing there at any one time. 

“Adam did present with some challenging behaviours,” Jodie says. 

“But now he receives support from professionals who are trained to be therapeutic in their approach, based on providing quality care environments and developing consistent service delivery. “ 

“We looked at Adam’s behaviour and how we could create an environment that supported positive, safe and healing relationships to address Adam’s complex needs. We also try to link into support from services in the community.”

Education was one of the big missing links in Adam’s life, after he ceased to engage in mainstream schooling. 

“Adam really struggles in a mainstream setting,” Jodie says.  “He has lots of social anxiety and feels like he can’t be vulnerable, which is a challenge when you are trying to learn.”

“So, we’ve engaged psychologists, paediatricians, teachers, social workers and therapeutic specialists to help him with that.” 

“We had to look at a different way of delivering education as well. Adam finds it a challenge to sit and write in a mainstream setting, so a move to a smaller classroom setting has been helpful and a more tailored method of teaching.” 

“These young people have had a lot of trauma in their lives and they find it hard to build up trust. They are, of course, still living the trauma because they are living away from their family, not in a normal setting.” 

One of the key therapeutic supports for Adam was to help him to correctly identify, label and voice emotions he was feeling. 

“For Adam, everything was coming up as anger, when in fact, if we dug further, we were able to identify that the ‘angry feeling in his stomach’ at school was anxiety and we could provide him with strategies to address that,” Jodie says. 

“It’s about small steps and filling the gaps that most of us take for granted. These young people have a lot of missing pieces in their knowledge because they haven’t seen people model these things in a positive way.” 

“What we’re trying to do is equip them with the skills to allow them to be successful in later life.” 

Adam is now engaged with education again and will be supported until he is independent. He will receive help with life skills such as managing bills, cooking and cleaning and at age 16 to 18 will have the opportunity to sub-let an apartment from CatholicCare to transition him to independent living. 

Asked what he has likes best about his time with CatholicCare, Adam says, “the carers”. 

“Adam still has challenges communicating his thoughts and emotions, but I think he has nominated his relationship with the carers as his highlight because they are always supporting him to be the best version of himself, encouraging him to make good choices, but accepting of him when he makes mistakes. He knows he can rely on them,” says Jodie.

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