Julie has been an emergency and part-time carer since 2016 and had around 50 children through her doors. She enjoys the flexibility this type of care gives her and her whole family benefits from the connections made with the kids who often stay close for many years after leaving care.
“Emergency Care is perfect for me because it offers flexibility. I work full time and live on my own. Two grandchildren live in NZ and I’ve others interstate so I like to be able to visit them when I want.
The first thing I do when a new child comes to my home is show them their room. Next I show them around the house so they know what’s behind every door. The light switches, the TV and remote, the fridge and pantry and tell them what they can have to eat or drink. I try to make them comfortable, so the first thing they are dealing with isn’t rules, it’s ‘welcome, make yourself at home. Have some fruit from the fruit bowl.’
Then I try to find something of interest we can share like a favourite sport. It might be music or a preferred food. If I haven’t heard of a band they like, I ask them to show me and we listen together, because then we have something in common. They often feel shy so on the first night I might offer takeaway so it’s their choice. Then later I’ll take them grocery shopping and they can choose what they prefer. It’s about giving them a safe space where they feel welcome and not frightened.
I try to imagine what it’s like going to strange house with just your bag. You’ve never seen the house and have no idea what it looks like inside. I make it a safe space where they can chill on their own if they like or can hang with me . We sit at the table for meals which I feel is a vital part of being a family and provides a relaxed opportunity to chat.”