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Precious time being ‘just a mum’ at Child & Parent Day

Diana*, a mum in custody at Dillwynia Correctional Centre in Sydney, wants nothing more than to do everyday mum things again with her two children. At our recent Child & Parent Day, she spent precious time doing just that.

Young mum Diana hasn’t been in custody for long, but every day apart from her 11-month-old son, Luke* and 2-year-old daughter, Rosa*, has been incredibly tough for them all.

When she had the opportunity to sign up for our upcoming Child & Parent Day, she jumped at the chance. These days are an opportunity for parents and children to spend quality time together, eating a meal together, playing games and doing activities.

They are much less intimidating for children than regular visits held in the sterile visiting room. These special days allow families to relax, bond, and try to make up for lost time together.

At the beginning of the Child & Parent Day, Diana was nervous. She hadn’t had both children alone for months and felt like she wouldn’t know what to do anymore.

Our team reassured her that we were there to support her and she didn’t need to put too much pressure on herself; the kids would enjoy every minute spent with their mum.

It was hard at first; she was trying so hard to be a mum for both of her children but was overwhelmed. In tears, she approached our team member, Karen, and said, “I wish my mum could come in and take Luke so I could just spend time with Rosa.”

Karen offered to look after the little guy for a while so that Diana could bond with her daughter.

Almost immediately, Diana relaxed and started to enjoy her time with her daughter. After a short time, Luke was hungry, and our team asked if she felt up to giving him a bottle.

Just having that short time to re-set and remember how to parent in tough circumstances for them all made all the difference.

Diana happily took Luke in her arms and eased back into her role, laughing and playing with her son.

From then on, our team noticed that Diana was attentive to her children’s needs, making sure she was interacting with them both.

“The smile on her face was incredible to see”, Karen said, “She was visibly happy, and that is what the day is all about, bringing families together in a positive way.”

When it was time for Luke’s nappy to be changed, Diana asked for our support to get permission from the Correctional Officers to change it herself. Usually, children would need to be taken out of the area for this, but the Officer could see how much the parents and children were enjoying this time feeling normal together and happily agreed.

You could see how proud Diana felt as she went into the family room, son, daughter and mum all together.

She changed Luke’s nappy as if she’d done it just yesterday, Rosa* sitting next to her, chatting away the whole time.

“What a gift for Diana to receive. The gift of being able to do what any other mum gets to do, being a parent to her own children,” Karen said.

At the end of the day,  as we were packing up, Diana came over and thanked Karen repeatedly for everything she had done to support her on such an emotional day.

“The impact that these days have on families is more than we can imagine,” Karen said, “seeing mums being able just to be mums brings me so much joy; I’m so proud that I can be a small part of this.”

Please donate today and help families stay connected. 

Thank you to the NSW Department of Communities and Justice for supporting our work in Correctional Centres in the state. 

Precious time being ‘just a mum’ at Child & Parent Day

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