Margaret took over as Daniel’s foster mother when he was seven years old. Since Margaret’s husband passed away in 2011, it has just been the two of them. Margaret does not go anywhere without Daniel, who has Cerebral Palsy and despite never planning to be a foster Mum, Margaret and Daniel have a very special relationship.
“I can understand everything he’s saying, and he never has me out of his sight. He is such a loving boy – It’s perfect, just like mother and son.”
Daniel is very social; he loves ten-pin bowling, swimming, riding his modified bike and just generally being out and about. Despite being non-verbal, he understands everything – his favourite part of being out and about is seeing and interacting with people.
“People ask how do I do it? He smiles when he goes to bed and smiles when he wakes up in the morning – that makes it all worthwhile.”
Unfortunately, at the start of the COVID-19 lockdowns, the accessible vehicle that Margaret and Daniel had been given in 2008 broke down. This was the third major repair the car needed; this time it was in need of a new engine and expensive repairs which Margaret could not afford. The family were left isolated, with no programs or social activities for Daniel or means to get out for even the most basic tasks such as grocery shopping.
“When we didn’t have a car, we would have to wander up the street, but we couldn’t carry everything back. There was no way in the world we could have saved up and paid for another motor.”
Relying on cabs was not an option during COVID lockdowns, and even after the restrictions began to ease the family were at the mercy of the weather and access to appropriate transport. Their freedom, choice and control was at a minimum. Without the car, Daniel was getting incredibly frustrated and was not feeling like a member of the community.
“We were without the car for 4 months and that just devastated Daniel because he wanted to be going out. He’s non-verbal and everything else, but he understands everything. He loves people saying hi and all the rest of it.”
Through the At Home Care Grants Margaret and Daniel received funding to replace the engine in the car. This means that Daniel can continue to live in the family home, access the community, and give Margaret peace of mind.