With more than 20,000 children in out-of-home care in NSW, it has never been a more important time for foster care agencies to find safe homes for these children. More than 600 new foster families will be needed this year to care for children and young people living in foster care.
Foster care agencies seek carers to provide everything from brief emergency care, to short term care while birth families are supported to resume care, and finally long term care with the possibility of adoption.
CatholicCare’s Foster Care Team is dedicated to helping families who are ready and able to open their hearts to a child. The team provides training and support not just at the beginning of the foster care placement but also on an ongoing basis. In addition, CatholicCare has a 7-day-a-week parenting telephone support service, Parent Line NSW, whose counsellors provide support to carers when they have concerns or need parenting support. In short, the foster care journey is not one families have to take alone.
So what is it like to be a foster carer? One couple, Terri and Les, who have fostered children through CatholicCare, explains the opportunities it has afforded their family and their foster children.
“Overwhelmingly, it’s been a positive,” they report. “It’s been the best thing we have ever done. It’s meant we have an opportunity to enhance the lives of children who may not have had the opportunity to grow in a family of love and security and we have the opportunity to enhance the family that existed before (the children) came.
It’s not something you enter into lightly,” they explain. “What you will have though is more conversations, more hugs, more laughter, more fun….”
For more information about fostering, call our Customer Service Team on 13 18 19 or visit the NSW Government Fostering website at https://www.caring.childstory.nsw.gov.au