Foster care comes in many different forms
Wayne and Kim had contemplated being foster carers for many years. This year, as they settled into early retirement, the two former school teachers talked about their aspiration to share their time and their home with children in need of support.
"We never doubted this was something we wanted to do. It was about the right timing for us to begin foster caring", said Wayne.
They attended an information evening called 'Caring for Carers', which was an information evening featuring presentations on the different types of care required and a meet-and-greet with various foster agencies. After the event they both decided it was time to take the plunge and start the process of becoming carers.
"We have the time and the ability to provide care and we were both looking at how we could help kids who needed some support", said Wayne. "We were both looking to do something with purpose and meaning. We could just sit back and enjoy retirement, but we feel the need to give back", he said.
Wayne and Kim both felt they have the ability to help children in need of short term and crises care, while also giving long term carers a well-deserved break.
" We try to provide quality one-on-one time, some time out from their normal routine and perhaps some new experiences", said Kim. "We try to help them enjoy quality time with us and the opportunity to experience day trips and things they haven’t seen before," she said.
They became foster carers four months ago and they have helped a number of children in that time. Some children have needed care for a few days – which was an emergency care situation.
"It has fulfilled our hopes and our desire to give back to the community", said Wayne. "It's wonderful to give them your time and attention and it's rewarding to see the smiles on their faces", he said.
Wayne and Kim both agree, it has been a positive journey which has helped them to fulfil their hopes.
"We've been very impressed with the support we've received from CatholicCare and they are always keen to communicate with us and support us on this journey", said Kim. "They are well organised and they are good, genuine people who want to look after us and the children", she said.
They both have found they are enjoying their new roles as carers and they enjoy the flexibility of doing this on their own terms, so they can still enjoy quality time together during their retirement.
Their advice to people thinking about carers?
"Make the call and start the process so you can find out more about caring", said Wayne. "There are so many different ways you can make a difference in the lives of children who need support", he said.
Kim added; "There are so many children out there who need support."
We’re on the lookout for potential carers who can share their homes and lives and make a positive impact on a child’s future for a short time or a lifetime.
All kinds of people become carers - singles or couples, those with or without children, empty nesters and retirees.
Every family is unique, just as every child who comes into care is unique. The more carers we have, the better the chance of making a successful match. This means more stability for children and less chance of a placement breakdown.
We need committed, compassionate people from our local community who:
- Understand that raising children is a shared community responsibility,
- Are willing to help a child heal from their past trauma,
- Support a child's right to spend time with their parents and relatives or be reunited as a family if it's safe and okay, and
- Can capably support a child's culture and identity.
- Change agents who recognise they can have a positive impact on a child or your person, even if they only care for them for a brief time,
Supportive, resilient people who won't give up
When children are removed from their families due to safety issues, the court needs to decide the best permanent caring option for their future.
Sometimes children are unable to live at home for a short period or for the long-term.
Often provided at short notice in an emergency situation. Usually for a limited time while a permanent home is found. Emergency carers are rostered on when they are available and may be called upon at any time of the day or night.
Lasting from a couple of months up-to two years until a child can be safely returned home to their family or a permanent home can be found with relatives or other carers. Short-term carers play an important role in supporting strong connections with birth families so children can be restored.
Taking on legal responsibility for a child or young person who can't be restored to their parents.
A child or young person becomes a legal member of their adoptive family and all parental decision-making and care is transferred to the adoptive parents.
Where the above options are unsuitable, some children will remain in long-term care.
Provides a break for carers of family members to re-energise. This may be a regular or occasional weekend or holiday respite. Respite carers also act as important role models and mentors to children and young people.
We value our carers and understand that it takes a team effort to support children who've experienced trauma and may be developmentally behind their peers. We provide ongoing training both face-to-face and online, case manager support, regular home visits, after hours crisis support, access to a psychologist, connection to other carers and support groups, events and dinners and much more.
Carers receive a fortnightly tax-free care allowance to pay for the child or young persons day-to-day needs. The allowance is not a salary but a financial contribution to cover the living costs of the children in your care. Additional costs, such as specialist visits, may be discussed with your case manager and included as part of an approved case plan for each child or young person.
Want to learn more about Foster Care?
To learn more about becoming a carer please contact CatholicCare on 0418 783 956 or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we will support you every step of the way.