Snapping stigma and re-connecting with siblings: Cheyenne’s story

I came into care when I was 12, turning 13.

Because I lived in regional WA, I found there were a lot of other young people and families that didn’t want to be around me because I was a kid in care. They tended to treat me like I was glass, like I was going to explode.

I have three sisters and a brother and I’m the eldest.

We were really close but that changed when we went into care because we were all split up.

I had a lot of contact with my youngest full sister because her carers really promoted that and pushed that. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case for my other siblings. We fell out of contact for years – no phone, letters, anything.

We (siblings) missed out on a lot of opportunities.

Nowadays, I have just got into contact with my sister again and we talk 3 times a week.

She has kids like I do, which has brought us together. My brother also pops down occasionally to stay for the weekend.

I would like to see the adults who are supporting young people, take a person-centred approach by listening to what the young person says they need, and taking into account what they want to do.

I was really lucky in that one of my group homes, I had a really good carer. She had worked with a whole bunch of young people with higher needs. 

She taught me that I am someone to be valued. I am not just my casefile.

My advice for other young people is that there are people out there that will understand you and be there for you. Take the time to sit down with someone you trust in your friendship group and share what you feel comfortable. Or find someone new!

How you feel is important and matters. It does get better.

Cheyenne is now 23 years-old, mum of an energetic 2-year old, and studying her Cert 4 in Youth Work. Outside of studying, working and parenthood, Cheyenne loves music and is currently learning the ukulele.