This is a first-hand account of an individual’s journey to becoming a foster carer, as told to Centacare Catholic Family Services.
I had thought about becoming a foster carer for many years before actually making enquiries.
I knew that it would be a challenging undertaking and I thought I would know when the time was right.
That time came when I read a news report about a four-year-old child dying because their bottle had been spiked with methamphetamine.
I knew I could no longer be a bystander in what I consider to be a crisis in our country.
Children are the innocent victims in the scourge of domestic violence, mental illness, poverty, alcohol and substance abuse; that plague the modern era.
The system that is designed to protect them is severely under-resourced; but in reality it falls to all of us to protect our most vulnerable.
It was Mahatma Ghandi who wisely said “A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members”.
The process of becoming a registered foster carer was long and comprehensive.
Many questions must be asked of people who are seeking to care for the vulnerable, appropriately so.
My partner and I decided to limit the type of care we would provide to respite care for children in stable placements, in consideration of our own children who were still very young.
In order to minimize disruption to the hierarchy of our large family, we accepted advice given to us to care only for children younger than our eldest child.
Our decision to provide only respite care, whilst it felt like a relatively small contribution, was measured by what our family could reasonably offer at the time.
Many children in foster care have high needs and my partner and I were well aware that we did not have the means to attend to such children at this stage of our lives.
I knew I could no longer be a bystander in what I consider to be a crisis in our country.A foster carer
I consider it essential to approach foster caring with an honest and realistic approach.
Once registered, we provided regular respite care to several children from stable long-term placements. It was both rewarding and challenging.
By providing respite care, the long-term carers were able to spend time with family, go on short holidays, attend to work commitments, or simply have a much needed break.
Respite carers also provide children in long-term placements with relationships akin to extended family. It exposes children to different family dynamics, rules and home environments.
I have immeasurable respect for long-term and emergency foster carers. They are the unsung heroes of our community.
If you have ever thought about becoming a foster carer, I encourage you to make enquiries and begin the process of registering.
You will be well supported by the wonderful agencies that train the carers and assist in the placements for children.
You can make a significant difference in the life of a child, and in the life of their families; and in your life too.
- To learn more about becoming a foster carer contact the Port Lincoln branch of Centacare Catholic Family Services on 8683 0733 or visit www.centacarecdpp.org.au.
This advertising feature has been sponsored by Centacare Catholic Family Services.