Patricia is a kinship carer for four siblings with whom she shares a bond as unique as they each are.
Kinship carer Patricia is passionate about providing a secure home for children and young people and maintaining their connection to culture, Country and kin.
The four children in Patricia’s care came to her through kinship care at an unexpected time of her life,
“These kids deserve the best start in life and that’s what I’m trying to give them. I’ve had them for nearly 7 years. They’re siblings and three of them are my grandkids. It’s an incredible experience, one I didn’t think I’d be taking on at my stage in life.”
Growing up as one of seven siblings Patricia recalls money being tight but the bond with her siblings outweighing anything she may have missed out on such as her passion for music.
Patricia has ensured the four siblings in her care have access to music with piano lessons for each, “Being able to give the kids the opportunity to learn music for fun is very important to me and for their development.”
The sibling group comprised of 10 and 9-year-old girls, “They’re both involved in piano and sport”, a 6-year-old boy, “He plays footy and does dancing and Scouts, he’s a happy little soul,” and their eldest brother, 14-year-old Luke.
Luke was 8-years-old when he came into Patricia’s care and at 14, he is and thriving attending boarding school with an Indigenous Young Leaders scholarship. Patricia says, “Luke is very proud of his Aboriginal culture and I’m totally supportive of that. It’s very important to me that he maintains a connection to his heritage. He’s a potential leader in any community but especially in his indigenous community. He’s quite capable academically and he’s teaching himself other instruments now and doing well in the sporting arena.”
Patricia believed her child-rearing years were behind her but sees this as an opportunity to create generational change.
“Kids only get one go and if we can make a difference and help them have the best opportunity to thrive and be part of their wider community, then it’s worth any lifestyle changes. I’d be glossing over it if I said it’s easy. It’s hard work but the benefits in the future are immeasurable for these kids. They’re going to break generational patterns. They’re happy and it’s so rewarding for me, just that simple ‘I love you Nana’ makes it worthwhile.
Patricia is dedicated to ensuring the children in her care remain connected to the culture by creating links to wider support networks, “They’re in a very loving environment with a huge extended family who are supportive and love them.”
She also believes it’s important for her own self-care and growth to stay connected to fellow carers and expanding her skillset to provide appropriate support to the children,
“I take part in a My Forever Family NSW carer reference group, and I’ve done a trauma informed course which was very helpful. It made me more aware of how to deal with triggers.”
The most important thing that drives Patricia is maintaining the siblings’ connection to each other, “Keeping siblings together is so important. There is no stronger tie than with your siblings. They’ll always be there for you.”