Susan has been a registered carer of children and young people for nearly three decades. She provides a variety of care types from short term emergency care to part-time care, and is a long term Guardian of two young siblings. Susan has been named as a Carer Recognition Award recipient for her longstanding dedication to the well-being of children and young people in out-of-home-care.
A home full of children was always part of Susan’s life plans and she has lived out her dreams through foster care. Susan became a carer 27 years ago and has never looked back. She reflects on her childhood hopes,
“I just wanted to have a house full of kids. When I was little and was asked what do I want to be when I grow up? I always said I just want to be a mum and have a lot of kids.”
Susan started foster caring when her two children were young and began with part-time care for two young twin boys who would stay with her family every fortnight. Those two young boys are now 30-years-old and maintain a bond with Susan as part of her extended family.
She is also the Guardian of two young siblings who have been living with her since they were infants.
“A brother and sister came into my care as infants as a short-term placement but ended up staying long term. Now at 26 and 27 years-old they are very much part of my family.”
The 26-year-old recently got married and asked Susan to walk her down the aisle. Susan says the milestone highlighted how important it is for children and their carers to maintain a connection to their birth families, “It was a really special moment, she had me and my family and her birth family all together to celebrate.”
Susan is also devoted to accommodating sibling groups, to ensure they stay together. Her devotion saw her providing emergency care to a sibling group of 5 children this year. She cared for the children ranging in age from 5 months to 11 years old until a relative kinship carer could be found.
“It’s nice to see the growth, to watch kids connect and feel a part of your family. I love watching the little steps that they make.”
Over the years Susan has been an exemplary carer providing emergency and short-term care for the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ), who commend her for making herself and her home available for children and teens of all ages. The department recognised her passion in nominating her for the award,
“Sue will often welcome teens into her home, especially to avoid them going into Alternate Care Accommodation. She works well with caseworkers and is open to communicating with birth parents and facilitating family time when appropriate to do so. Sue is an amazing and selfless carer who is highly valued by DCJ.”
While many people become carers after being influenced by their own parents or family, Susan’s experience is unique in that she has inspired her own mum to become a carer.
“I just thought there are a lot of kids out there who need a home, and instead of having more biological children I thought I’d open my home to kids that are already out there. After I started (foster caring) a lot of my family became carers. My mum, sister and cousins started. They saw the kids that came into my care and wanted to be part of it.”