In her new book, Author and General Manager of Whitelion (a charity supporting Australia’s vulnerable young people), Rachel Porter delves into the lives of nine Australian men from troubled backgrounds who have lived through incarceration and managed to change their lives around. Read more
How will the stories of the men in this book speak to both teachers and parents? The stories in the book take the reader on a journey of the turbulent childhoods of nine men who have been through very abusive circumstances some of them were incarcerated as children but in the end they have gone onto happy, healthy lives often giving back considerably to society. It’s really important to understand the perspective of young people involved in these situations. What influences were in their life that led them to being incarcerated? What role did adults have in their life leading up to the time of their offending? What could the adults in their lives have done more or less of to help these young people and lead them on a more constructive journey? It also speaks to the potential within each individual – every person has the possibility of a positive future regardless of their current circumstances. What advice would you give to educators to help identify vulnerable children at risk and how should they respond? It’s important that educators notice behavior changes in students to help identify early warning signs of vulnerability in children and young people. Some early warning sign indicators could include:
- Changes in behaviour or mood
- Staring episodes / withdrawing from others
- Eating and sleep disturbances
- Difficulty concentrating
- Exaggerated startle response
- Irritability and outbursts of anger
- Hypervigilance – jumpy or fidgety
- Restricted or excessive display of emotions
- What do we think about young people in detention?
- Do we understand the circumstances that may have led them there?
- What do these young people need to help redirect their lives positively so that they can become helpful and contributing members of society?