Walt’s daughter was just weeks away from leaving prison. And he was going to visit her.

 Walt lives in an isolated area more than 150 kilometres away from the prison his daughter was in. He doesn’t know Melbourne well, and would face real trouble trying to get to visit his daughter – if he could even afford the cost of train tickets, taxi fare and overnight accommodation to get there to see her.

That’s when he contacted the Aboriginal Family Visits program.

In March, VACRO received an email request for travel and accommodation assistance for Walt. This assistance was approved, which meant we could cover his costs, and he made plans to travel in two weeks’ time.

But then COVID-19 hit. Walt’s plans were cancelled.

His daughter was due for release on 9 June.

Her prison contacted us, to see if we’d still be able to get Walt to the prison for his daughter’s release day. We agreed, and arranged for Walt and his daughter’s three kids to be there waiting for her at the prison gate on her day of release.

The Aboriginal Family Visits program covered the cost of accommodation in a motel nearby the prison and petrol reimbursement to get Walt and his grandchildren there for his daughter’s day.

He told us the assistance made it possible for the family to be together.

“Thank you for all your help; we could have had a very difficult time doing this by ourselves. I really appreciate your help.”

Staff at the prison told us it was an important support for Walt’s daughter having her family there as she prepared to take her next step.

The Aboriginal Family Visits program helps keeps families connected, despite distance and cost. And for Walt and his grandkids, it set their family up for the best possible start as his daughter gets her life on track – together. 

More information about the Aboriginal Family Visits Program