Hi, my name is Haley and I am a proud Aboriginal, South Sea, Anglo, single mother of three beautiful children aged 10, 13 and 15 years. My children drive my purpose in life and I am so grateful to experience life with them and I am honoured to be their mum.  I love them so very much.

I was fostered at the age of 11 to two separate families.  My experience has ultimately been a positive one.  It has taught me the intrinsic value of family relationships and how they impact our lives. Sadly, not all my experiences in foster care were positive ones but even these difficult experiences have provided me with insights and learning as to how the child protection system could be improved. It may seem ironic that the experiences, pain and trauma of my childhood have now become my motivation and my passion to assist vulnerable people; particularly vulnerable families.

I can especially relate to families struggling with unhealthy relationships and in such cases, children being at risk of significant harm.  My home was not particularly pleasant for a young child as there was poverty, single parenting, unemployment, relationship problems, mental health issues, drug and alcohol use, violence and criminal activity.  I know my parents loved me and my brother, and each other, but they themselves came from vulnerable families, having strained relationships with their respective parents.

I often reflect on my upbringing and believe that if my family were struggling today, we would have had more support and quite possibly still be together.  I was raised in the 1990s in regional Victoria and from what I can recall, there really were not too many options for family support.  There was little acknowledgement of the detrimental impacts of domestic and family violence on children.

Eventually, life became too difficult for my mum, and my brother and I were removed from her care.  I felt abandoned and unloved; which really was not the case.   From this experience, I have developed a strong belief that it is vitally important to support families to break the cycle of vulnerability, trauma, and harm rather than splitting families up and removing children which is devastating for all involved.

My early life experiences have helped form my convictions; I believe in developing programs that value the importance of family relationships; connection, community and where the focus is on assisting families to stay together by encouraging and supporting families to address their difficulties and break the cycle of vulnerability.  An elder once said to me, “when you heal your own trauma, you heal the trauma for the next seven generations”.  That statement had a profound impact on me, and I decided I was going to make that my life’s purpose; not only for my own children but also for the children and families in my community.

 

Kind regards,

 

 

 

 

Haley Walsh-Clarke

Helping Aboriginal children, young people and their families to be safe, healthy, self-determined and connected to family, culture and community through:

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Relative Kinship Care Assessments

Relative Kinship Care Assessments

Where an out-of-home care placement is required for a child or young person, the consideration of a suitable kinship carer should be the preferred option before any other placement is pursued. Kinship care involves relatives or members of a child’s social network being authorised to provide accommodation and care until restoration can occur, or long-term care plans are made. Kinship care is targeted at children aged 0-18 years subject to intervention by child protection agencies and who are assessed as requiring out-of-home care.

Family Group Conferencing

Family Group Conferencing

Family Group Conferencing (FGC) is a voluntary, inclusive and restorative approach to decision making. It involves family members coming together to make significant decisions and develop a case plan. FGC promotes respectful and strength-based engagement in planning to meet what is in the best interests of the child or young person. We have qualified facilitators who offer families a process in a safe and supportive environment, with appropriate resources, for important decisions to be made that are both realistic, restorative of well-being and will last over time

Pregnancy Family Conferencing

Pregnancy Family Conferencing

We can offer highly skilled and independent facilitators who aim to improve collaboration and to ensure a coordinated, early response to pregnant women and their unborn babies. We facilitate three meetings with families and multidisciplinary teams to support the development of a coordinated care plan. The ‘three houses’ tool is used to guide these meetings using a ‘Signs of Safety’ practice framework.

Jodie Quinn

Senior Team Leader / Maroochydore CSSC

Thank you so much for being part of the boy's journey with their aunty and with them now returning to their traditional country to be closer to family. Thank you for the support that you have provided all stakeholders around these little boys

Family Member - Family Group Conferencing

"Thanks for all your help... I found it a very valuable experience with plenty of opportunities to really plan and work through some tough stuff."

Rebecca Liska

Therapuetic Case Worker / Mackillop Family Services

Haley is the most kind, gentle and intelligent human being, with the children's best interest always at heart