Jenny & Marjorie’s Story

Posted on 2 April 2024
Category Carer stories

After years of caring for several children and young people, Jenny has learned the smallest things can make the biggest of impacts on shaping a life. 

Jenny’s lifetime of dedication to children and young people in out-of-home care began in the 1970’s when she was a young student nurse doing her paediatric training in Queensland.  

An 11-year-old boy who was flown to Australia for medical treatment changed the trajectory of Jenny’s life forever. She saw how this young boy benefitted from having the simple comforts of day-to-day life, being out in the community, playing and being nurtured by a caring, consistent adult. Jenny was determined to provide this young boy with a ‘normal’ childhood and rallied to ensure that he was able to participate in daily life despite being unwell and thousands of kilometres from home.  

She and her partner Marjorie would take the young boy home and allow him to experience life outside of a hospital and interact and connect with the world outside in a safe and stable home. Having witnessed the joy this simple act could bring a child suffering, Jenny and Marjorie decided to open their hearts and home to children in need. 

The couple continued to care for children with illnesses or disabilities as they travelled across the country working as nurses. Eventually settling down in regional NSW, they began caring for children and young people long-term.  

Jenny and her partner choose to take placements for children and young people with disabilities or chronic illnesses. Because of their experiences working as nurses across remote and regional parts of Australia they feel this is where their care is needed most; with this cohort of children. 

When one of Jenny’s children came into her care as a baby, she was told by specialists that she would not be able to talk or achieve developmental milestones like other children. However, with Jenny and Marjorie’s support and the child’s own determination she has grown up to not only talk but become an award-winning composer.  
Jenny says part of building a child’s confidence is listening to their wants and needs allowing them to have fun, “You’ve got to create opportunities for them, and never accept that they’ve failed before they’ve even been given a fair chance at life” 
“If you give them enough support, they’ll have the confidence to open doors themselves” 

For prospective carers Jenny says while the journey has its challenges and heartbreaks, the most important thing is keeping a child safe and happy, and part of that is being compassionate towards birth families, “It’s so important to have an open mind towards the birth family because they are a part of the child’s story.”