Foster Care Week, September 10 to 16, is a time to acknowledge and celebrate the wonderful contribution that foster carers in NSW make to keep the state’s most vulnerable children and young people safe in loving and stable homes.
This year, Fostering NSW is using Foster Care Week to encourage people wishing to help children in out-of-home care achieve permanency in their lives, to consider the question, ‘What type of carer could you be?'
With almost 20,000 children in NSW unable to live at home, there is an urgent need for more foster carers who are able to support restoration of children to their birth families, offer immediate or respite care, or move towards guardianship or open adoption of children in their care. Christine and Jeff have been foster carers for 10 years, and in that time have had 12 children stay with them for short periods of time, while plans were made for their permanent placement.
“It all began after we looked after a friends’ daughter’s while she was having a bit of a hard time at home,” said Christine. “We got her through her HSC, and after she went home we decided that we could do something to help other vulnerable kids too.”
“It’s not an easy thing to do,” Christine explained, “but as a high school teacher, I have seen the impact of instability and trauma on kids, and I just couldn’t stand by knowing that our family had the capacity to make a difference.”
All types of carers are needed, from those with a strong desire to support children to return home to their birth families, to those who wish to take the more permanent step towards open adoption or guardianship. There is also a huge need for carers with the ability to offer emergency care to children when they are first removed from their homes, and respite carers who can give families a break when they most need it.
While many people across NSW are aware of fostering and adoption, they may not realise the range of ways in which they can help out. Fostering NSW is a one-stop shop for impartial information about the range of agencies and options available in NSW. That’s why this Foster Care Week we’re asking people, ‘What type of carer could you be?’
People from all walks of life can provide care; single people, young or old, married and same sex couples and caring professionals, to empty nesters and people from different cultures or religious backgrounds.
Like Christine and Jeff, and all of the amazing foster and kinship carers being honoured this week, you could help a child find their ‘family for life’ and give them a sense of belonging and security that could change their future.
To find out more visit: www.fosteringnsw.com.au or call 1800 236 783.