Sunday, 12 September 2021
This Foster and Kinship Care Week there are kids across NSW
who need you to ‘Open Your Home and Your Heart’
This Foster and Kinship Care Week whilst we honour the extraordinary foster, relative and kinship carers, guardians and adoptive parents of NSW, there remains a critical shortage of carers for kids across the state. Kids like ‘Harry’, ‘Charlotte’ and ‘Noah’, who all need a place to call home.
Foster and Kinship Care Week this year runs from September 12 – 18 and while our annual My Forever Family NSW carers’ picnic is on hold due to COVID restrictions, nothing will stop us celebrating the incredible carers of NSW who bring stability and security to the lives of children and young people in care.
But our state is still in desperate need of more carers of all types from kinship care, part-time to long-term or emergency foster care, through to guardians and adoptive parents. Families come in all shapes and sizes, with every carer home making a difference to a young person’s life.
Children and young people who can’t live safely in their family home either short term or long term are in need of a home now. Kids like eight-year old Harry* from the Hunter region. Harry loves Minecraft, reading, Lego and climbing trees. Or siblings, Charlotte* and Noah,* from Southwest Sydney who would love to stay together. Noah is 13 and a “big personality”. Easy-going and respectful he enjoys playing drums, PlayStation and footy and would love to get into martial arts. Charlotte, 12, is Noah’s younger sister. She is outgoing and loves music, dancing, baking cakes and colouring in. She’d love to try basketball.
There are many other children and young people just like Harry, Charlotte and Noah, of all ages and with varying needs, across the state in need of carers to provide nurture, stability and the experiences of childhood – warm meals, time to play and learn and people who will be there for them.
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Alister Henskens said, “We need more people to open their hearts and homes to children in out-of-home care either in a permanent or part-time way. The support you give now can last a lifetime and I encourage anyone who is up for a rewarding and life-changing experience to consider becoming a carer.”
Renée Carter, CEO of Adopt Change operating the My Forever Family NSW program says, “Behind the number of 16,000 children and young people in NSW not able to live safely at home, there are real children like Harry, Charlotte and Noah, who need people to open their homes to provide them the best chance to experience childhood and thrive into their futures. Whilst this week is very much about recognising the valuable work of foster and kinship carers across the state, we need hundreds more nurturing homes for children and young people. This is especially critical considering the additional challenges being experienced across our state in 2021.”
Caring can be an extremely fulfilling experience. NSW carer and adoptive parent Christopher Martin says, “It’s the best thing. I can’t imagine doing anything in my life that is more rewarding. It’s certainly the most rewarding thing I’ve done and continue to do. There are so many different ways you can help whether it’s just for the weekend, whether it’s for a month or forever.”
Christopher and his husband David have four children living in their care, two of whom are siblings and three of whom came to them of school age.
Christopher says of his experience caring for the older three, “We were only open to having older kids because we wanted to be carers and we wanted to build a family…but we also wanted to be able to continue with our careers, so that meant caring for kids of school age.”
“In the past when I’ve spoken to people about fostering and the different ways you can approach it, we’ve tried to stress that you can foster and have a career at the same time.”
My Forever Family NSW will also show appreciation for foster and kinship carers across the state announcing the 2021 Foster and Kinship Care Week Carer Recognition Awards. Especially apparent this year is the added responsibility of navigating children and young people through COVID-19.
If you would like to find out more about becoming a carer for kids, or to nominate someone who goes above and beyond for the children and young people in their care, head to our website www.myforeverfamily.org.au for more information.
*Names have been changed to protect privacy.
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