Impact You Can See

Help girls like Stephanie to change the trajectory of their lives

At age 13, when most children are advancing to high school, Stephanie was not safe at home.

Her mother dealt with serious mental illness and was unable to care for Stephanie. Stephanie had experienced significant trauma, including witnessing the death of her father, and was eventually moved from her mother’s care by Child Protection to live with her half-sister, Leigh.

The upheaval and trauma impacted all aspects of Stephanie’s life, until all life outside of home was too scary and confronting.

“Year 7 and 8 were not good at all. I wasn’t the best student, and because I wasn’t getting a lot of support, I would skip classes and not do work. I was like, “What’s the point?”

Well-supported carers can provide the love, protection and stability needed to change the trajectory of a child’s future so that they can heal and realise their full potential.

“I was angry that people weren’t able to help me. I had no one I could rely on and I was getting worse,” says Stephanie.

That’s when Anchor case manager, Ninus, was assigned to support Stephanie and Leigh. Stephanie remembers how nervous she was meeting Ninus on that first day.

“This was probably going to be just another person who would come and then leave.”

But Ninus was committed and saw the possibilities in Stephanie. She worked tirelessly to show this young person that she was worth it.

“Steph’s school wasn’t supporting her enough and we struggled to get them to cooperate with her needs,” Leigh says. “Ninus came in and was able to help us get Stephanie on track. She listened and respected Steph, which sounds simple, but it was something that had been lacking from other service people in the past.”

It didn’t take long for Ninus to recognise that Steph needed additional support with her schoolwork – she was falling behind and it was making her feel more disengaged, more unmotivated. So not giving up, Ninus asked Anchor to pay for a tutor for Steph, which we did.  

Over the years, Ninus also saw that Steph’s dental health was holding her back, so she helped Steph access $10,000 for dental surgery to

address dental issues sustained while in her mother’s care.

This support helped Steph to reconnect with her school work, and helped her personality to flourish after a long challenging time in her life. And it paid off.   

“Now I’m in year 12 and I am doing schoolwork alongside the other students. I’m on top of all my work. It feels good to be in this space. I’m even able to help other students with their work.”

Leigh says that once upon a time, the outlook for Stephanie being independent and having a life of her own seemed really bleak. But with Leigh’s constant care and the dedication of Ninus, Stephanie has been given the tools to reshape her own future.

“I didn’t know if she would finish school, I didn’t know if she would ever be able to work. But now I have the best hope for her because I know that she’ll be able to give 100% to everything because she believes in herself.” – Leigh

Our families desperately need support — emotional, financial, practical support from dedicated case workers who understand the complexities of raising a child who has experience significant trauma.

Your support today can help young people like Stephanie tackle things that previously seemed impossible

Anchor worked with 797 families in the Outer East last year. We need your support to help us make sure that all young people in kinship care, foster care, or those experiencing homelessness are provided with the support they need to grow and flourish.

Since her challenging and traumatic start to her teenage years, Stephanie is now starting to enjoy feeling like a regular teen: finishing year 12, starting driving lessons, doing work experience – all vital things for a young person finding their way in the world.

“I’ve been able to feel like I’m cared about. And I’ve been able to feel happy. And experience life as a normal kid, even though I didn’t have a normal childhood, but now I’m getting a normal childhood, so it’s very nice to be able to be like other kids again.”

There is a rising number of young people needing support

Between 2017 and 2021, the number of Victorian children in kinship care grew by 33.2 per cent from 5,577 to 7,429. Further research has also found that children who don’t get a stable kinship placement early are more likely to need specialised mental health services or be involvedin the youth justice system than others in out of home care.

Source: VAGO

Your contribution makes a difference

Anchor has supported Stephanie to access a tutor, as well as $10,000 for surgery to address dental issues sustained while in her mother’s care.

Your donations go toward paying for additional needs that help make young people like Stephanie feel safe and cared for, such as beds, home goods, schooling needs not covered by government support, social needs and more.

Essential Support

$100 can help support young people like Stephanie with the essentials they need to thrive such as transport, school supplies and tutoring services.

Health & Medication Supplies

$600 can provide supports for medications and health services not covered by funding such as dental work.

Emergency Assistance

$1,500 can help provide emergency assistance to families in need such as home and car repairs.

Give children like Stephanie, who are born into unimaginable circumstances, their best chance at growing up into happy and productive adults.

“It’s amazing to have people who are supportive and caring. I’m kind of messy, and I tend to do things a bit in my own way. Ninus and Leigh make me feel confident and safe to do things on my own now.”

Children like Stephanie didn’t choose the life they were born into, but your donation will make sure others like her are supported to thrive and attain the futures they dream of.

*Stephanie’s name, location and associated images have been changed to protect her identity.

Anchor is a deductible gift recipient (DGR) organisation. All donations over $2 are tax deductible.