I submitted my PhD the week before last. I've requested that after its examination it be embargoed. Which means that the most important page won't be seen publicly for quite some time. I want these people to know how much they helped me.
I hope as researchers you continue to wonder about those unrevealed stories. Not just because they are interesting, but because they are unjust.
At the beginning of this research, a woman who had been raised in state care anonymously left this comment on my blog. Her voice has kept me focused and I thank her.
The 73 young people who participated in both this study and its pilot were an endless source of inspiration—I hope that I do you justice. Gratitude is also extended to my former clients who gave me the insights that sparked my passion and who encouraged me to tell their story.
I extend much appreciation to the staff at the Youth Support + Advocacy Service (YSAS) and Barwon Youth Alcohol and Other Drug Service for their time, assistance and support. I would like to particularly acknowledge Andrew Bruun, Salli Hickford and Josie Taylor.
I thank Guy Johnson for much helpful intellectual discussion and support. Thanks are also extended to Madeline Hallwright who, in addition to being a dear friend, copy-edited much of this thesis.
As always, I am indebted to Shani Pearce (whom also copy-edited several chapters), Melissa, Matthew & Memphis Pace, Russell van Sanden, and Geoffrey Mead. Their contributions to my life, both tangible and intangible, were, and continue to be, immeasurable—thank you.
Chris Chamberlain – my ‘Tyrant’ – has been my ally, my harshest critic and pseudo-parent (under the guise of ‘Supervisor’). It is certain that I would not have begun a PhD without his (forceful) suggestion; but it is equally certain that I would not have been able to complete it without his unwavering support and belief in both me and this project. I have learned so much from him and I am eternally grateful—as was my mother.
Finally, my late family, whose love taught me more than I ever realised. My brother, Jared, modelled courage, curiosity and the importance of living your values. These traits were learned from our mother, Lorraine, who instilled in both Jared and I a strong sense of social justice. Mum taught us, by example, that if you can do something to help, you should. I would not be the person writing this story without the sacrifices they made for me. This thesis is for them.