Bring Madison home
Bring Madison home
Why this petition matters
Our granddaughter Madison (14 years of age) who we have cared for, for the first 12+ years of her life has been removed from our care through the Family and Community Services system for going on 18 months. This has devastated us, we have spent endless time and money and poured all of our energy into having her returned home with no results and no clarity as to why she was taken from us in the first place. This is our last resort, we are left with nowhere else to turn, this is our plea to bring Madison home.
We believe Madison was removed from our care because we refused home entry to our caseworker during a Covid-19 lockdown in 2020 (Sydney, Australia). At the time, we felt we were doing the right thing, following statewide health orders and trying to remain safe as we are both quite vulnerable. This is the only reason that we can think of, prior to this we had a very good relationship with workers from the department.
Madison rarely spent time away from us in her first 12 years, we were a very solid family unit. Madison is a child with a complicated past, she has repeatedly lost contact with those who are special to her, including her mother and two sisters. We are deeply saddened and concerned for Madison as this event has only extended her list of precious times missed with the people she loves.
In her 18 months under the care of the department, Madison has lived with 7 different foster families, that is approximately 2.5 months living with each family, a fairly unsettling approach to rehoming a child. During this time, she has escaped from these placings on 8 seperate occassions, each time making her way home to us.
On the first occasion, Madison ran from a home where she had been placed with a family of heavy drinkers. When she was finally able to escape, it was early morning, around 1am. She hid a pair of scissors under her jumper and managed to get herself home. When I asked Madison why she took the scissors she answered, “I was afraid that I would run into bad people and need to defend myself.” I ask you, should a child ever know such fear?
Madison has witnessed terrible things during this time and has been robbed of her childhood. She has been present for altercations between ourselves and caseworkers from the department at our home, she has been manhandled by an overzealous presence of police officers (often men) who would return her against her will to foster homes and she has spent more time navigating the streets, running than any child ever should.
Madison spent at least 3 months of this time not attending school, she had her mobile phone and laptop taken and lived in a bedroom where she was allowed to watch television all day, a life that feels very isolating for a girl in her teens who is grieving her old life and a home filled with love. These are some of the traumatic events that we are aware of, we as two people who are now quite removed from the daily happenings in Madison’s life. We can’t bring ourselves to imagine what else she may be dealing with.
This is a desperate plea to bring our Madison home and for her to be reunited with her grandfather who has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. My husband is the only father Madison has ever known, they were the best of friends and each deserves the chance to spend time together again.
There is no such thing as a perfect childhood or a perfect home in which we grow but we have always done the very best we could. We offered Madison a life filled with love, care and kindness and it took one challenging relationship with a caseworker to completely tear us apart. We cannot fathom how this new life forced upon Madison is better than what she had with us.
Any help and support for this family is greatly appreciated. If you have a story similar to this, please reach out to us!