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James is determined not to make the same mistakes as his dad

James was set on making a fresh start at being a parent when he signed up for Keeping Us Together and Storytime at Parklea Correctional Centre. He had been in and out of prison since he was a child, repeating the intergenerational incarceration cycle as his dad had been in prison most of James’s childhood. James and his partner had become parents at a young age and, due to their drug addictions and unstable home environment, their child was placed into kinship care.

During the SHINE for Kids programs, James shared that as he was from an Indigenous background it was important to him that his child be placed with kinship and not in the foster care system. He shared that he’d felt so relieved when he found out that his child was living with family nearby and not with a stranger. As James had been in prison much of his life, he had lost contact with his child and hadn’t seen them in years.

Whilst in custody this time, James was placed in the drug recovery program and a goal he had was to work on establishing and repairing his relationship with his child after so long apart. He initiated contact with his child by participating in Storytime and his child’s caseworker was supportive of him once he told them he was participating in our programs.

When he started Keeping Us Together, he had a full A4 page of questions for the facilitator. During the sessions he was a very active participant and said, ‘I didn’t know that!’ and ‘ah yeah, that’s why they [children] do this’. He graduated from Keeping Us Together feeling prepared to take the next steps with forging a positive relationship with his child and expressed how grateful he was to the SHINE team.

“I learnt things I never thought I would about myself and my child. I don’t want to repeat the mistakes my father made”, James told our team. He said when he gets released, the first thing he is going to do is meet his child’s caseworker and further develop their contact and bond, and that one day he wants to buy his kid a pizza!

James is determined not to make the same mistakes as his dad

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