Caleb’s Story

" At four years old, Caleb was frequently left home alone for long periods of time, had been exposed to drug production in his home and did not have an attachment to any one adult. "

When a child is severely abused or neglected early on in life it can lead to a reactive attachment disorder. Children with this disorder are so disrupted they have extreme difficulty establishing normal relationships and attaining normal developmental milestones.

Unloved and alone

Caleb has experienced a significant history of neglect and witnessed domestic violence in the family home from a young age. He was left in the care of extended family members for long periods of time and was often shuttled between carers. As such, Caleb did not have an attachment to any of the adults in his life.

" The emotional scarring left from being neglected at such a young age means that children may struggle to maintain healthy relationships and lack the ability to function normally at home or at school. "

Destructive behaviour left him isolated

Caleb was placed into care with his older brother and struggled to play alongside other children. His play was destructive, he lacked imagination and the ability to maintain focus on one particular activity. He was unable to sit still for longer than a few minutes and had limited fine motor skills needed for things such as pulling up zips, doing up buttons and drinking from a cup.

Missing milestones

How we helped

When Caleb came to Act for Kids he could barely hold a pencil and despised table top activities like writing or colouring in. He was always fidgety and overly energetic, his inability to follow the most basic instructions meant he was a danger to himself.

With access to our Occupational Therapists and Speech Therapists, Caleb is now learning to engage in play for an extended period of time through the use of visual schedules, timers and motivators such as getting to pick the next activity.

" Using pencil grips and pre-written patterns, Caleb is learning how to trace and colour in and now is able to sit with his brother at the table and participate in these activities without getting distracted. "

Getting ready for school

Through many visual techniques and modelled behaviour, our therapists are helping Caleb get ready for school this year. Caleb can now transition between activities with ease and is able to sit on his own and complete an activity independently. He can play for several hours without resorting to destructive scenarios or getting bored.

The bigger problem


Source: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Child protection Australia 2016-7

Abuse and neglect

" Of the more than 40,000 kids who experience substantiated abuse and neglect in Australia, the majority (48%) experience emotional abuse, followed by neglect (24%). "

Abuse and neglect can impact a child’s brain development, how they feel and think about themselves, how successful they are at school, even their physical development and skills. In the long term this can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness, difficulty developing and maintaining good relationships, unemployment and all sorts of social disadvantage.

Early intervention makes a world of difference

Soon Caleb will no longer need to see an Act for Kids therapist and will able to smoothly transition into school and keep up with his peers. While the severe neglect he suffered may affect his future relationships, time and consistent kindness from his carers will heal this wound and Caleb will go on to have a happy and productive life.

Thank you for supporting our vision for all kids to have a safe and happy childhood and a brighter future.

How you can help

We can’t do this important work without your help. We rely heavily on donations to support our intensive therapy programs for abused and neglected kids, and early support for families at risk. Your donation will help us keep our doors open and expand our services.

Donate Now

Donations over $2 are tax deductible. Every donation, big or small, combines to make a real difference.


Donate Monthly

Your generosity means we can continue providing our integrated therapy programs for abused and neglected kids, and support services for families.

Becoming a Kids’ Crusader and donating monthly is the best way to help us help kids and families – it means we can direct funds where they’re needed most and make the biggest impact over time.

Workplace giving

As an employee, workplace giving enables you to make a regular donation to Act for Kids through your payroll, directly from your pre-tax pay. This means that you receive an immediate tax saving as it reduces your taxable income.

Donate in your will

By leaving a bequest to Act for Kids, you can make a positive difference to the lives of children and young people who have experienced abuse and neglect. By including Act for Kids in your will, you offer a gift of hope to future generations and you will help us give abused and neglected children the chance to lead safe, happy and fulfilling lives.

Dr Neil Carrington

Act for Kids

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If you have any questions or would like to access our free counselling and support, please call us directly to discuss or make an appointment.

Completed referral forms can be accessed from the services section on our website and email to or call 1300 228 000

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Referral Services

If you have any questions or would like to access our free counselling and support, please call us directly to discuss or make an appointment.

Completed referral forms can be accessed from the services section on our website and email to or call 07 3850 3200

  • Drop files here or