Breaking the cycle of trauma

“For some of our mums, Mums & Bubs is the only stable family environment they’ve ever had.”

Five-year-old Ryan has graduated from kinder and starts primary school this year. Ryan is a happy young boy and a promising future lies ahead of him. That’s thanks to his determined young mum Claire who sought help from our Mums & Bubs program when Ryan was only a few months old and facing a very different future. Claire had grown up in the absence of parental guidance or support of any kind. Her mother would often leave her and her much younger siblings alone in a poorly kept home, and Claire’s father was incarcerated. At 18 years of age, Clair gave birth to Ryan amidst complex family relationships and an unsafe environment.

When Claire first arrived at Mums & Bubs with her infant son, she was also seeking safety from severe family violence at the hands of her partner.

“Claire presented as much younger than an 18-year-old. She had never known how to keep a clean house and she struggled with basic living and parenting skills. She herself had not experienced normal living conditions or been parented,” says Mel Young, Family Violence Worker at Mum & Bubs.

Over a period of four years, Mums & Bubs worked with Claire intermittently.  Her initial period of stay at the house was disrupted as Child Protection Services (CPS) stepped in to remove Ryan from her care.

“We actively advocated for Ryan to be returned to her care as we believed that was the best place for him,” says Mel.

Mums & Bubs attended court and engaged with CPS to have Ryan safely returned to Claire’s care. Once reunited, Claire could return to the house again and continue her journey toward building a better life.

Mums & Bubs worked extensively with Claire and key among the supports provided were organising mental health care and modelling parenting skills to help her engage with her growing toddler.

Using emotion cards with Ryan for better communication, a referral to Queen Elizabeth Centre (QEC), and guidance on tackling a multitude of everyday tasks helped Claire further develop early parenting skills as well as mental and emotional wellbeing. 

Claire finally left the Mums & Bubs house to start afresh with strengthened resolve and greater capacity to parent her son. By then Ryan’s father was being held in incarceration and Claire was free to pursue her dream of nurturing a family unit.

Breaking the cycle of trauma proved challenging however as Claire struggled to find a stable home. Following the birth of two children with her new partner, she found herself in a volatile environment once again due to her partner’s actions. Placing the needs of her children above all else, she reached out to CPS and followed the necessary steps to remove herself and her children to safety.

Claire’s troubles continued as her partner passed away leaving her to parent three young children on her own. Although her life journey was closely following her mother’s, Claire could reach out to Mums & Bubs for guidance and advice to navigate the traumatic events in her life. In time, Claire prevailed despite seemingly insurmountable difficulties.

Today Claire lives independently in a new rental with her three children and feels she is now a better parent to her three children.

She shares with the Mums & Bubs family, the happy occasion of Ryan graduating from kinder; a milestone that marks a promising end to the generational cycle of trauma. “I’m so proud of myself. I do everything on my own and they are happy kids. I did all of that,” says Claire.

Emerging from a place of great despair and trauma, Claire has persevered against a great many odds in her young life and her Mums & Bubs family couldn’t be prouder.

“She has stepped up so much. She’s a very young mum raising three children on her own and she has established her own family unit. We are proud of her,” says Mel.

As Claire rebuilds her life and secures a future for her family, she draws strength in the knowledge that she has Mums & Bubs support and learnings to turn to in times doubt and uncertainty.

“For some of our mums, Mums & Bubs is the only stable family environment they’ve ever had,” says Mel.


Our Mums & Bubs program provides safe, medium-term accommodation for young mothers facing homelessness. To find out more or make a tax deductible donation to the program please call our fundraising team on 1300 946 337. *details changed to protect privacy