Hunter's desperate shortage of homes for children in need has reached a crisis point

The number of Hunter children who need a permanent home has reached crisis point with CatholicCare Social Services in urgent need of 50 placement carers.

CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning has 176 children in its Permanency Support Program however the demand for their services is growing with an increasing number of abused and neglected children desperate for a loving home environment.

There are 18,000 children in out of home care in NSW, 49% of those are in Hunter New England District. 

Increased pressure on families, which highlights their vulnerabilities such as domestic violence, alcohol and other drug use, neglect, financial pressures are all contributors.

A Family and Community Services spokesperson said the department is also in the process of organising a carer recruitment campaign to help meet the growing needs of children in the Hunter. 

FACS staff in the Hunter New England District are also liaising with non-government agencies in the local area to complete targeted recruitment for children who require a placement. Anyone interested in being a carer should contact www.fosteringnsw.com.au 

CatholicCare is looking for carers with resilience and the capacity to help a child who has experienced trauma to heal.

“Carers need patience to navigate their child’s behaviour and an understanding of the impact past experiences and people have on the child’s outlook,” a CatholicCare spokesperson said.

“Carers must have a spare room in their house for a child, but do not need to own the house. They can be singles, couples or a family. You do not have to be Catholic to be a carer with CatholicCare, we welcome carers from all religious backgrounds, sexuality and nationalities.”

A total of 30,000 children in Australia are in dire need of a permanent home.

These are children who, through no fault of their own, have been removed from their parents due to concerns for their safety due to abuse or neglect. 

They have lived in out of home care (foster care, often comprising of multiple placements) for more than two years, with little to no hope of reunification with their family.

Adopt Change CEO Renee Carter said the situation is now at crisis point. A study commissioned by Adopt Change describes the confronting statistics facing children in out of home care in Australia, including that they are three times more likely to suffer from drug and alcohol addiction and experience increased chances of homelessness, mental health problems and difficulty finding stable employment. 

“Yet, if permanency is secured we know these statistics are turned on their head,” Ms Carter said. 

FACS has introduced changes that shift the focus from placing children in out of home care with foster carers to one centred on safety, permanency and wellbeing.

 The spokesperson said the government is also streamlining the adoption process.