Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Bringing Together Fractured Families

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Bringing Together Fractured Families

Article excerpt

Byline: CARLY PERRETT

AS Christmas fast approaches, family gatherings are often the first thought that pops into most people's minds.

But not all families come together for the festive season.

Even close family members can lose contact with one another as they move around and change jobs.

Others split up over arguments, petty jealousies and personality clashes.

Sometimes relatives simply drift apart through busy lives and no common interests.

Often, the hardest part is being the first to try to reach out to a lost family member, especially if plenty of water has already flowed under the bridge.

Taking the initiative to be the first to contact a missing person can be difficult.

But the task can seem less daunting simply by knowing that various support groups are available to help with the search.

Community organisations such as The Salvation Army are able to put people in touch again and keep the communication lines open between family members.

The Salvation Army offers a Family Tracing Service to help connect family members who have lost contact with one another.

Caloundra mother Laureen Outtrim is very familiar with this program, having successfully located her adult son with the help of the service.

Ms Outtrim had lost contact with her son for three years and, as each Christmas passed, she never stopped wondering what had happened to him.

Laureen said she had done many internet searches, contacted friends and other family members for his whereabouts, but her inquiries always drew a blank.

"I was growing older and, together with other family members, I made the call," she said.

"It was not an easy call to make, to ask for help, but as soon as I phoned the Family Tracing Service, they were absolutely fantastic."

Ms Outtrim said the service had led her through the process and made the search easier and less stressful.

"It did not become a hard thing to do in the end," she said. …

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