26 November 2021
My Forever Family NSW Heads to Northern NSW 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 Northern NSW region and 16,160 children living in out-of-home care in the state of NSW.
To find and inform potential new carers in the Northern NSW region, My Forever Family NSW will hold a free online Becoming a Carer Information Session for local residents on Tuesday 30 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 data for 2019/2020 shows 15 children per 1,000 are living in out of home care in Northern NSW compared with nine kids in 1,000 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
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 Lennox Head local Shauna talked of the strong connections she has made, “I am floored every time (I care for a child) by the amount of love I receive, whether from the littlies or from the birth family or agency people. I am always humbled by what I receive in return. I think giving love to the whole family is better for the children I care for.”
Of her experience with emergency care Shauna spoke of a ten-year-old girl who spent one night in her home, “I took out a crocheted blanket and just wrapped her in it. She took it with her the next day, still wrapped around her.”
Shauna’s advice, “Go easy. Don’t stress if they don’t eat what you’ve prepared. Just because your house is safe, warm and clean, it doesn’t mean it is their normal. They are in unfamiliar surrounds, and they don’t know how to navigate what they are experiencing. Just give them whatever they need. It’s very rewarding.”
Of My Forever Family NSW Shauna said, “Since My Forever Family NSW came about I feel like there is more support for carers. It gives carers more confidence to ask for help, and to receive it. And it gives you confidence to voice your opinion, because they listen to what you have to say. When I started caring I didn’t know any other carers and now we have coffee catchups every month. The courses they do are fantastic and give you an opportunity online and in person to learn more - which gives us better skills for the kids we care for.”
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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