We first met Poppy when she was taken into foster care as a small baby by one of our foster carers. Her mother Kim was still going through rehab to deal with her heroine addiction. This is a remarkable story of a mother’s determination and how supporting a mother to be able to care for her own baby can be the best outcome for both mother and baby.


Kim’s story starts when she was a little girl, and she and her family did not get the help they needed to thrive. Her father had disappeared when she was a baby, and her mother was an alcoholic who died in a car crash when she was nine. Kim met her dad for the first time at the funeral, and she was given into his care.


He was a violent man who beat his wife and her step sister, and life was so miserable Kim ran away when she was 13. Living on the streets was hard, she got onto heroine, and then prostitution to support her habit. She lived like this for many years.


When Kim was 33 she got pregnant, and she decided this baby was going to have a chance at a better life. She went off the heroine cold turkey, and got herself into a rehab centre. By the time Poppy was born, she had been ‘clean’ for 4 months, but as she was living in a rehab centre and didn’t have her own home, the baby was taken by Community Services and given to a foster family.


Kim did not give up – she got legal aid to help her take the Department to court. She found herself housing with a non-profit housing service. The court found that she was clean, had fulfilled all the rehab conditions, had a stable home life and was fit to care for her daughter.



Community Services then asked The Benevolent Society to help Kim prepare to become a full time mum. Poppy was 9 months old and still with our foster carers.


We assigned a case worker – Debbie.  Case workers are highly trained and qualified, and remarkably resourceful miracle workers who turn people’s lives around.


Debbie showed Kim how to create a loving bond with Poppy on her contact visits, how to interact with Poppy to help her attune and bond with her. She taught Kim how to play with Poppy, how to know when she was hungry or uncomfortable and how take care of her so she felt safe. She gave Kim information on nutrition and baby care and helped her set up her 2 bedroom unit to be child-friendly with the right baby furniture.


Debbie was also a mediator between Kim and Community Services and a facilitator with the foster family to gain their cooperation and support.


Happily, Kim was ready to bring Poppy home two months earlier than planned and in time for Christmas.


Many thousands of children in Poppy’s situation don’t get the help they need.


These are children whose parents can’t cope. Like Kim, they may have suffered abuse and neglect themselves. These parents need help to create for their own kids, the loving home they never had.


Getting in and helping Kim early in Poppy’s life, helped her to thrive and dramatically changed Poppy’s life chances. Being together as mother and child, safe and supported, dramatically improved the wellbeing of both mother and child.




The Benevolent Society is Australia’s first charity. We’re a not-for-profit and non-religious organisation and we’ve helped people, families and communities achieve positive change for 200 years. We help people to change their lives, through support and education and by speaking out for a just society where everyone can thrive. 


We are a leading provider of welfare support services for disadvantaged children and families, people with mental illness, the elderly and their carers. In the last year alone we helped more than 60,000 Australians.


Organisation Details
Level 1,188 Oxford St, Paddington NSW 2021
Contact details: 

+61 2 8262 3552