Young people under the Guardianship of the Minister will be honoured at a reception at Government House tomorrow.
Mikayla Fordred, who was named Dux of Community Studies - Communication and the Community at The Heights High School, will be among those honoured.
Now 18, Mikayla is one of a number of young people under the Guardianship of the Minister to complete their final year of high school this year and will be recognised at the Governor's annual Reception to Acknowledge the Schooling Achievements of Children Under the Guardianship of the Minister.
Mikayla has been involved with the department since 2004, in long-term foster care from 2008 to 2014, before moving into residential care and recently transitioning into independent living.
"At the start of this year I was really struggling with the demands of Year 12 and SACE, but I'd promised my mum before she passed away, that I'd complete it - and that was my long term goal," said Mikayla.
"Though the last two years have been really tough, I was able to get help by accessing all of the services and support offered. Last year, with the help of the Y180 program run by Anglicare SA, I moved into independent living and it worked out really well.
"My support workers in DCP, Anglicare, Relationships Australia Post Care Services, at school and of course my good friends, helped me and I was able to work through it and concentrate on my studies from then on. I feel so proud of myself now I’ve actually completed Year 12, and becoming Dux of Community Studies is amazing," she said.
Part of Mikayla’s studies involved writing poetry to provide to key adults in her life and report on their reactions. Her poetry focused on her time in care.
She shared the poems with her case worker and two other staff members and this provided them with an insight into the high and low-lights of her time in care.
Department for Child Protection, Chief Executive, Cathy Taylor said this was an excellent example of the department teaming up with agencies and support services to create an excellent outcome.
"Over the coming months I will be working with staff within the department and with our support agencies to implement changes which I hope will see stories like Mikayla’s become the norm rather than the exception," said Cathy.
"We want to make sure the children and young people under the guardianship have the same opportunities to thrive and develop, just as every other child in society does."
Mikayla is fiercely independent and looks forward to entering the workforce and earning her own money before returning to study.