When Mary joined IMPACT Community Service's Positive Start Parenting Program things were not looking great for her future.
She was homeless with three young boys and a fourth on the way.
She had escaped extreme domestic violence, suffered from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and moved into a house that she later found to have been causing detrimental effects on her asthmatic son.
After 40 admissions to hospital for asthma-related conditions in just three months, Mary moved her family out to live in their car.
Thankfully, with the advocacy of staff in the program, Mary secured emergency accommodation through Regional Housing.
Just one week after joining the program, Mary went into premature labour at just 23 weeks pregnant.
The next seven weeks were intense as Mary* was flown to Royal Brisbane Women’s Hospital.
She had to relocate the whole family to Brisbane.
Positive Start workers were there every step of the way to support her.
At just 30 weeks baby Lincoln* was born and, four weeks later, flown back to Bundaberg.
Positive Start Parenting support workers went into overdrive to make sure that Mary received the support she needed.
Mary was assisted with obtaining a divorce from her violent husband, childcare arrangements were made, school visits to the principal were attended, shopping trips arranged with a premature baby and a demanding pre-schooler, support at paediatrician appointments and Regional Housing meetings, as well as working with Centrelink to secure a Carer's Payment.
Support workers also assisted Mary into getting into another more permanent house and retrieving her 14-year-old son from his violent father.
At this point in time Mary is getting married, her children have started afresh in a new school, Regional Housing and Qstars are working to enable her to gain private rental opportunities and Lincoln continues to thrive with no sign of a predicted Cerebral Palsy diagnosis.
The road has not been easy for Mary and her family but Positive Start Parenting Program has always been there to support her.
Mary* is grateful for all the support and assistance that she has received from the Positive Start Parenting team, and with the foundations she has now built and personal goals in place, she looks forward to a bright future for her children.
*Names have been changed to protect identity