From angry young man to a future full of hope
When 14-year-old Ben arrived at Sydney’s Dunlea Centre, he was emotionally hurting, angry and violent and his family was struggling to cope. Today, Ben is calm, thriving at school, engaging with his family and full of hope for a bright future.
Dunlea Centre, founded as Boys’ Town by Fr Thomas Dunlea in 1939, is a comprehensive service to adolescent children and their families who are at risk of family breakdown, but who want to restore their relationships.
The organisation provides family and individual therapy, academic and life skills education, and residential care for both boys and girls.
Family preservation and restoration is the focus of the Dunlea Centre’s program and the centre is also an out of home care service, with students living in from Monday to Friday, thus allowing the children and their family some space to bring about necessary changes.
Ben arrived at Dunlea Centre angry and disturbed. He had been sexually abused by a non-direct member of his adopted family. He had a quick temper and episodes of violence. His family was struggling to manage.
He stayed with the Dunlea Centre for about 18 months, and it was “a tough ride”, according to case workers. But the team worked closely with Ben and his family, and soon he was able to start at the local high school one day a week and then spend one night a week at home.
Ben ended up staying on at the school full time and is thriving. He is now settled with his family again and they are doing more family things together. He is calmer and is now a good big brother to his siblings.
In a letter to the Dunlea Centre, Ben’s mother said she feels like she’s got her son back and sees a positive future, full of hope.
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