Olivia thrives in her foster care placement

January 14, 2022

Olivia was three years old when she came into our care. She was severely developmentally delayed, couldn’t walk and screamed all through the night. Within a matter of months, she has received medical care and other supports, is happily living with a foster carer and is making good progress. 

“Olivia had been removed from her parents due to their neglect of her medical condition, but, because of her medical challenges and behaviours, the Department of Communities & Justice was unable to place her in a home based care setting,” says Melissa, CatholicCare Foster Care Support, Assessment  & Recruitment Officer. 

“Recognising the quality of foster care services CatholicCare provides, Community Services reached out for CatholicCare’s assistance with Olivia. 

“We were able to provide a short-term carer with skills in disability support to care for Olivia.” 

The first priority was to seek medical assessment for Olivia, who was also very heavy for her age. 

“Through the hard work of the CatholicCare team, especially the carers, as well as allied health professionals, it was identified that Olivia suffered from a rare genetic disorder known as Angel Man Syndrome,” Melissa says. 

“Once this diagnosis was established, we could move forward and arrange effective treatment and therapy.”  

“Olivia now has an NDIS plan in place under which we’ve been able to link her into speech therapy, occupational therapy and regular appointments with a paediatrician.” 

Thanks to these interventions and the care she is receiving, Olivia is making major progress in only a matter of months. 

“The carer she is with is really wonderful. She’s helped to rectify a lot of Olivia’s challenging behaviours,” Melissa says. 

“Olivia can communicate non-verbally now, she is using basic sign language. She can follow directions and her mobility is a lot better. When she first arrived into care she would fall over a lot because balance issues are a part of her condition, but now she balances better, can climb stairs, and is working towards running.”

“She has lost weight and is also able to sleep properly now. One of the things her carer had to do was teach her how to actually fall asleep. It just shows that with the right environment, progress can be made, because we’re seeing it now.” 

Olivia is now a happy girl who is thriving in her placement and the carers have affirmed their ongoing commitment to Olivia.

Melissa says that while the road ahead for Olivia will be challenging due to her health complications, CatholicCare, the carers and other members of her care team remain committed to ensuring her needs are met throughout her childhood, whether she is ultimately restored to the care of her parents, or remains with a carer. 

Tragically, there are many children and young people in our community who are unable to live with their families through no fault of their own.

CatholicCare is seeking families to provide essential support, care and stability for children and young people affected by family breakdown, to enable them to recover and thrive. Through our suite of services, and the dedication of our specialist support teams and foster carers, we are transforming the lives of children and young people to create positive futures.

Our priority is to ensure these children and young people have a safe, stable home. If you are interested in knowing more about fostering a child or young person, please visit www.catholiccaredbb.org.au/can-you-help to view the profiles of some of the children we are seeking carers for right now.

* Name and photo have been changed to protect the child’s privacy


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