IT takes a village to raise a child, but what happens when a child has no village?
This is when people like Carla and Marty Fadelli step in.
The Fadellis have a goal to buy a 60ha property in Meelon where they can continue their work with at-risk young people.
Carla, a foster carer and psychologist, got to the point where she was tired of turning away teenagers who needed her help.
She decided, with husband Marty’s support, that buying a homestead would stop this from happening.
Carla said her programs helped young people regain hope for the future.
She recounts the story of one of the teenagers she helped, called Jack.
When she met Jack he had been through the wringer with the Department of Child Protection, homelessness and drug addiction.
Jack was getting aggressive with his mum and had been diagnosed with various mental health issues.
“We linked him to two mentors and he started feeling safe and opening up about his life experiences,” Carla said.
“He started engaging with us and got off drugs.
“This allowed us to get him to a psychologist who identified the trauma he had gone through.”
Carla said Jack was now working as a landscaper.
“Then even though he was off the drugs he recognised he needed more support and went to Shalom House,” she said.
“There is also no indication of mental health issues.”
Another girl was referred to Carla and Marty via a doctor and took part in their equestrian program about eight weeks ago. She had an eating disorder, so doctors were concerned about her getting too much exercise.
Carla ensured that the program took place without riding at first and the girl won fourth at an equestrian competition recently.
“Nothing with teenagers is quick, but we do see rapid changes in the kids,” she said.
“Their parents notice a difference after two or three sessions.”
Carla believes people are all on journeys and are all recovering from something.
She tells this to the young people she deals with and believes that is part of her success. Carla also emphasises the importance of working with families.
“Some kids have amazing families who can’t cope with them,” she said.
“Some kids are assessed and we say they’re better to stay with their family. There are some families who we can’t work with because they aren’t ready yet.
“Once we help with the youth, we find they can help the family.”
Carla said that no one was a “perfect parent”.
“Some parents are highly aggressive and disengaged and give the teenagers to us and tell us to work on them,” she said.
“There are situations where we can’t send the kids home because it isn’t safe.”
Carla said to meet all the needs of the kids and the family, partnering with outside agencies was important.