Selina’s house in Hope Vale has been the home for many young, growing children over the years. Here, you might find her in the afternoons at dusk, in the garden with her young ones.
She and her husband Roland currently have a six-month-old girl, a nineteen-month-old girl and a four-year-old boy living under their care. Selina is a kinship carer to the children through child safety, where she has committed many years of her life to raising children as a Carer.
“They keep me busy,” says Selina with a laugh.
“Last week I had four children under four. Three siblings and one granddaughter by Kinship Care. I had my granddaughter for two and a half years. Now she’s reunified with her mum and siblings. I had to go down for a week to Cairns to transition that process. It was hard to transition back. She’s still crying now, one week later.”
While she manages the sometimes dark and complex challenges that come with the role of a kinship carer, Selina shines a spotlight on the importance of education for her children.
“My biggest focus is my family. It’s important to put our children first before our own needs and wants. To make them our priority and put them through schooling. That’s why I take kids into care. To give them the best start in life.”
As well as caring for children in child safety, Selina has two biological children and one adopted son.
“My own boy, he’s 26 now, and his cousin that came into our care, we put them through boarding school. It is rewarding. Having that education background allows them to know how to socialise when they go out with other people into community. They’ve learnt how to live in both worlds. Now, I have my 16-year-old girl at boarding school, and it will be rewarding seeing her finish her education.”
Selina’s daughter attends St Patrick’s College in Townsville and hopes to be a nurse one day. Selina accesses her daughter’s Student Education Trust (SET) account – a locked trust account dedicated to educational costs – to pay for her educational costs as they arise.
SET accounts are an O-Hub Opportunity Product that accepts fortnightly payments from carers, empowering them to prioritise their child’s education and ensuring there are funds on-hand when needed. These accounts will be transitioned to the new READY, SET and GO Opportunity Accounts on the Pama Platform in coming months. Most recently, Selina accessed her daughter’s SET funds to pay for a school camp.
Selina is also keen to sign up her three kinship care children to an Opportunity Account, as she did with her three older children.
“When I know how long I’ve got them, then I’ll set all these children up with accounts. And that’s when the O-Hub comes in handy, for the future of our children.”
As well as utilising the O-Hub to budget for schooling expenses, Selina also seeks their help for her small business.
“I really rely on the O-Hub because I have a backyard business as well. I do party hire equipment for events. Tables, chairs and all that. If I need to send of invoices, the O-Hub is the place that I rely on to keep my business going. The O-Hub has been a great help for people like myself.”
One day, Selina and her husband hope to buy a piece of property and grow their own fruit and vegetables.
“We’re hoping to move out onto a farm, just outside of Hope Vale and develop things on the farm. But I can see my house always being open for kids, like those who need care.”
Whether it’s children or fruit trees, Selina’s home will always be a place of stability and growth. In her words, “her door will always be open.”