In the lead up to Foster Care Week (11th – 17th September), we spoke to Dr. Wendy Foote, Deputy CEO of the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies, about the invaluable role played in our community by foster carers in bringing stability and security to vulnerable children and young people who are unable to live at home.
“People think you have to have a big house that you own, and be married,” says Dr. Foote.
“The truth is that you can be gay or lesbian, you can be single or in a committed relationship; you can be someone who has raised your own children, or is wanting to be a parent for the first time. Carers come from all walks of life, are all ages and also reflect our multicultural society, with many carers coming from the Aboriginal community. What carers can offer is matched to the different needs of the child.”
“Children in foster care have different needs – some need emergency care, others need short term care while other children need long term care, and may be suitable for adoption. Some children need a grandparent figure to provide respite care to back up permanent carers.”
Dr. Wendy Foote, Deputy CEO of the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies. Image: supplied.
“There is no magic formula for the perfect family to take on a foster child but the essential ingredient is your ability to provide good loving care that has a focus on responding to the child’s needs.”
Being a foster carer is very rewarding, Dr. Foote tells Mamamia.
“It’s the most amazing experience to be able to provide a healing environment for a child who needs a family, and to be able to offer a safe and secure environment to that child.”
“Experienced foster carers are familiar with the phases that foster children go through – initial disorientation and apprehension when they first arrive, to becoming settled and able to manage their emotions as they feel more secure. Foster carers can see that they’re actually making a difference.”