Chloe grew up in state care, then she had to fight to keep her own baby

Home Politics Chloe grew up in state care, then she had to fight to keep her own baby
Chloe grew up in state care, then she had to fight to keep her own baby

An offspring of the child protection system, Chloe* was desperate to keep her own baby out of state care — but her son was still taken.

When she was four years old, Chloe was propping up her mother: calling the ambulance as she lay unconscious, or waiting for her at the police station.

When it came out Chloe was being sexually abused by her mother’s ex-partner, the New South Wales Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) intervened, and she was sent to live with a family member.

You could not fault the kinship carers “on paper”, yet Chloe struggled to find her place in this family.

“I got to a point where I was self-harming every day. I would just cry myself to sleep. I cried walking to school. I felt like I was better off dead,” she said.

At 14, she was involuntarily admitted to the Concord Centre for Mental Health in Sydney’s west.

As much as the two years at the psychiatric facility felt dull, they were also disruptive, as Chloe recalls the daily patient outbursts that would start a chain reaction of “chaotic” behaviour among the other residents.

Her last few years in care passed by in a residential group home.

But just as she had finally found her feet, things were about to get tougher still.

A woman holding a child.
Chloe had to undergo a parenting course before her son was returned to her.(Supplied)

Adulthood arrived abruptly as she awoke on her 18th birthday and was given a few hours to farewell her peers and leave the group home.

“They said I can stand on the sidewalk outside, but I had to be off the property,” she said.

The remaining hours of her milestone birthday were spent in a hotel room, organised by her case worker. From then on, she was couch surfing.

Just a year after Chloe left care, she was back in the system — this time as a mother-to-be who was about to lose her child.

“I had case workers chasing me up, saying that they had to do a review simply for the fact that I left care a year beforehand,” she said.

Having always wanted kids, she was excited to be expecting, but the pregnancy itself was difficult.

“I went into the hospital because I was having cramps early on in my pregnancy and I didn’t know if it was a miscarriage or not,” she said.

“I was like a blubbering mess. It was that hospital visit that caused [the hospital] to call [the department].”

When Chloe’s mother persuaded her to move in with her, she found it difficult to hold her own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.