Flynn's story - positive change through holistic support

We met Flynn through his social workers at Salvation Army Open Door, a crisis accommodation centre.

Speaking about how he came to be at Open Door, Flynn told us: 'I was homeless for about a year and a half after my partner and I broke up. Then I got myself into Open Door and got given a social worker.'

Flynn's transitional housing and access to support workers at the Salvation Army was helping him start to get back on his feet, but he also desperately wanted to see his children again. He had been separated from them due to his substance use and after becoming subject to a family violence intervention order.

At the time, Flynn didn't know who to talk to or how to get help. 'I told my social worker about my situation - that I hadn't seen my kids for three or four years. He took me to see Jessica at IMCL and started all the paperwork,' he explains.

Flynn wanted the best for his children and to be able to see them grow up happy and healthy. We worked together with his social workers to work meaningfully towards his goal by providing wrap-around, holistic support.

'I really appreciated both my social worker, as well as Jess and Indy. Without them, I wouldn't be able to see my kids.'

At first, Flynn was worried about his situation and the Family Court proceedings.

'I was worried because, at the time, I was homeless... you really need a stable place to live to be able to change your life. And there was so much work that I had to do to be able to see my kids.'

But, with a roof over his head and with the support of his social workers, Flynn was able to focus on the mediation process while starting an apprenticeship to further his job prospects. He also proactively engaged with a men's behaviour program and a parenting course. The programs helped him to engage more respectfully with his ex-partner and make positive changes in his life.

'At the time, nobody knew what was going to happen in the end. I tried my best and did everything that I could... I was still worried, but I had a lot of support from Jess and from my social worker.'

Our family lawyers, Jess and Indy, were successful in resolving Flynn's parenting dispute. With the best interests of the children at the core of the resolution, the children continue to live with his ex-partner. But due to the transformative steps Flynn has taken in turning his life around, he can now spend valuable time with his kids and be part of their lives again, and they can spend time with their father and his side of the family.

Achieving this outcome was life-changing for Flynn. He says 'it was the happiest time in my life. I hadn't seen my kids for so long... it was better than winning the lotto.'

Thanks to the stability he found at the Salvation Army, Flynn is now focussed on his apprenticeship and has moved into his own accommodation. He's even looking to move into a bigger place so that his children can stay with him from time to time.

It's common for people experiencing disadvantage to have complex life circumstances that can prevent them from identifying legal problems and seeking help. Flynn got help because his social worker was able to identify that he had a legal problem and knew that Jess and Indy could help.

The wrap-around support provided to Flynn by IMCL in partnership with his social workers at Open Door was crucial. It allowed him to get back on track and to build a life for himself and his children.

As Flynn's story demonstrates, a lawyer is not always the first person someone turns to for help. That's why we embed lawyers in community services like the Salvation Army Open Door to ensure the most disadvantaged members of our community can access legal help. You can read more about our community partnerships here