Amid critical shortage of carers in Byron and Northern NSW, urgent call to talk to people who understand life with teenagers and are interested in becoming a carer
My Forever Family NSW supports, trains and advocates for foster and kinship carers, guardians and adoptive parents who bring stability to the lives of children and young people in care. There remains a critical shortage of carers in the Byron and Norther NSW district and 15,895 children living in out-of-home care in the state of NSW. But not all children needing care are young, with call to people to consider caring for teenagers.
Not all children needing care are infants or young kids. Right now, there are teenagers in the community who need a safe place to call home. To find and inform potential new carers in Byron Bay region, My Forever Family NSW will hold a free Becoming a Carer for Teenagers Information Session for local residents on Thursday 18th May from 5:30pm-7pm at Byron Bay Services Club – 132 Jonson St, Byron Bay. The session will raise urgent need for carers for older children and teenagers in the Byron Bay region, to ensure that children in care can thrive and continue to form strong bonds with their families and community.
Anyone who has the time and skills to provide a safe place for a teenager, and understands what it’s like to navigate homework, sporting commitments and teen-related issues is encouraged to come along, to help support these young people in need.
The Department of Communities and Justice NSW data for 2020 shows that a staggering 15 children and young people per 1000 are living in out-of-home care in the Byron and Northern NSW region compared with nine in 1000 across the whole of NSW. These are children and young people who can’t live safely with their family and need a safe and nurturing place to call home.
Experienced carer Cameron has formed a strong bond with Ben* who came into his care at 12 years old. After decades of travelling in solitude Cameron has found himself relishing in homelife with Ben by his side, sharing in home maintenance projects, camping and fishing trips together and simple pleasures like walking the family dog – all things Cameron attributes to Ben being an older child in care.
“Just our day-to-day interactions are rewarding, going for a walk with the dog or going for a bike ride, it’s hard to put into words. He’s just so friendly and kind, he’s a beautiful boy…
He’s a fantastic apprentice tradie and loves helping me around the house, he loves doing the lawn which is great because I hate it. We can have conversations about movies that we’ve watched because he has that developed understanding of the world.”
There are many different types of care options available to suit individual and family circumstances, all of which will be covered at the information session. The event will be an opportunity to ask questions of local agencies, be introduced to the services of My Forever Family NSW and hear the first-hand experiences of current carers.
My Forever Family NSW Spokesperson, Michelle Stacpoole talks about the significance of the program for the local community and the urgent need for carers.
“Being a carer for teenagers is not a one size fits all. There are many ways you can help teenagers thrive. These sessions are an opportunity to ask questions about becoming a carer in an open and relaxed setting, and to chat directly with those who have lived experience as carers. It’s a chance for people to considering becoming carers now to understand the next steps and we also welcome people who are considering this option for the future to come along and find out more.”
For more information on the information session please go to https://www.eventsforchange.org.au/infosession
You can find more information about My Forever Family NSW at www.myforeverfamily.org.au/
*Name changed to protect privacy
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