My Forever Family NSW Heads to Nepean Blue Mountains Region
My Forever Family NSW Heads to Nepean Blue Mountains Region to Inspire More Carers including Emergency Carers
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. This includes emergency care, which is a form of immediate and temporary care for short period of time when a child cannot live safely at home. There remains a critical shortage of carers in the Nepean Blue Mountains area and 16,160 children living in out-of-home care in the state of NSW.
To find and inform potential new carers in the Nepean Blue Mountains region, My Forever Family NSW will hold a free online Becoming a Carer Information Session for local residents on Thursday 25 November 2021 at 7.00pm. The session will raise awareness about the critical need for more people to become involved in caring for children currently living in the state care system.
The Department of Communities and Justice NSW data for 2019/2020 shows that 20 children and young people per 1000 are living in out of home care in the Nepean Blue Mountains 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 either short term or long term and need a stable home now.
*Children like “Phillip”, “Tim” and “Dominic” who live in the local area.
Phillip is six years old. He’s smart, funny and enjoys having a predictable daily routine. He likes school and helping with his six-month old brother Tim’s bath time. Phillip and Tim would love to stay together and would like a carer with a sensitive approach.
Dominic is 14 and has been living in out of home care for five months. His is polite, well behaved and is hoping to find a carer who is kind and committed to supporting him through his teenage years into becoming an adult.
The information session will inform potential carers of the different options of care available and 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.
While there will be a focus on information about emergency care, there are many different types of care options available to suit individual and family circumstances, all of which will be covered. While becoming the full-time carer of a child may not suit everyone, options such as emergency or part-time care introduce the idea of becoming part of a child’s extended support network for one night (emergency care), a weekend once a month or on school holidays (part-time care). Carers are needed for older, school-aged children and young people, sibling groups, as well as younger children.
Experienced carer and Nepean Blue Mountains local Julie has formed strong bonds with children she’s cared for. She said, “I’ve cared for around 50 children since 2016, all part-time and emergency care. The shortest was for one night but generally it’s a week or so. With part-time care, I might see a child one weekend per month over years. They become part of the family and they take a piece of your heart. It’s great for my grandkids and nephews who make connections to the children when they come to family gatherings. And that connection can remain until the kids are older and out of care. They might call me for a chat, to ask a question or to check I’m OK with things like bushfires. Part-time and emergency are perfect for me as I live on my own and work 50km from home so it’s not always possible for me to drop off children to school. Plus, this way I have the flexibility to travel to visit my grandkids when I like.”
On what the first night of emergency care looks like for her, Julie commented, “The first thing I do for a new child is show them their room. Then I show them around the house so they know what’s behind every door. The light switches, tv and remote, the fridge and cupboard and tell them what they can have to eat. I try to make them comfortable, so it’s not all about rules, it’s ‘welcome, make yourself at home – have some fruit from fruit bowl’. Then I try to find something of interest we can share like a favourite sport, music or type of food. If I haven’t heard of a band they like I ask them to show me. It’s about giving them a safe space where they feel welcome and not frightened. They can chill on their own if they like. But I find they are usually happy to have a chat.”
Michelle Stacpoole, My Forever Family NSW Spokesperson talked about the significance of the program for the local community and the urgent need for carers. “Being a carer for kids is not a one size fits all. There are many ways you can help children 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 this special online information session please go to…. www.eventsforchange.org.au/infosession
You can find more information about My Forever Family NSW at www.myforeverfamily.org.au/
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