“The studio saved our family”

Ron and Sue* are parents of five, who came into touch with Kids Under Cover more than 13 years ago. A combination of a large family, disability, health issues, and a small house lead to high tensions in their home.

“The boys just couldn’t live in the house together,” Ron said. “They were always arguing and fighting with each other. They were quite physical and were wrecking the house. It was impossible to keep them apart because they shared a room.”

Ron and Sue discovered Kids Under Cover through another family who had a studio in their backyard. It sounded like the perfect solution, and they contacted Kids Under Cover directly. They were put in touch with a Community Service Organisation and assigned a case manager who assessed the family’s situation. It was recommended a single bedroom studio with bathroom be installed in the family’s backyard.

“The studio saved our family,” said Sue. “It was like someone waved a magic wand, and all the tension between the boys was gone because they both had their own space.”

The older of the boys, who was 14 at the time, moved into the studio in the backyard. Ron and Sue say the studio gave him room to explore his independence, and grow into a capable young man.

“He was happy to have his own space and be more independent,” Ron said. “He went from a young kid who struggled with everything, to being very organised and successful.”

Although there was a period of adjustment for both boys to get used to their separate living situations, Ron and Sue say they soon forged a new bond, learning to enjoy each other’s company and care for each other.

“When they were sharing a room there were real issues, but once they had separate spaces the rivalry was gone,” Sue said. “The fact that they were no longer in each other’s faces made a big difference in our family.”

Ron and Sue say that in addition to the impact on the family as a whole, the studio has transformed the lives of both boys. When their older son moved out, the younger one moved into the studio to have some space of his own.

“Our younger son has come a long way, thanks to the studio,” Ron said. “Part of that was having independence, but being supported throughout it because he was so close to home.”

With assistance from Kids Under Cover, both boys have now completed their tertiary education. They’re living independently, but they are still close to each other and their family. Through Kids Under Cover, they were given support and opportunities that Ron and Sue wouldn’t have been able to offer.

“The boys received scholarships which is a big reason why they finished their degrees,” Sue said. “They were given support that we couldn’t have given them.”

The Studio is still in Ron and Sue’s backyard, and one of their daughters is hoping to move in. They hope the studio experience will give their daughter independent living skills, and improve her separation anxiety.

“We’re so glad we reached out to Kids Under Cover because the studio has been life-changing,” Ron said. “Kids Under Cover have given our us so many opportunities, and it’s a big part of why our family has such strong bonds today.”

*Names have been changed to protect the identities of carers.