Critical shortage of foster carers in the Mountains
Source: Blue Mountains Gazette
Author: B C Lewis
There is a critical shortage of carers in the Blue Mountains and Nepean area with 20 children and young people for every 1000 now living in out-of-home care.
This compares to the rest of NSW which is nine children and young people per 1000, according to data from The Department of Communities and Justice NSW for 2020.
Some 15,895 children are living in out-of-home care in NSW.
As at June 30, 2021, there were 1775 children and young people in the same situation in the Nepean Blue Mountains district. This is a jump from 1324 children in 2012 – or 7.3 per cent of the total number of children and young people – compared to 11.2 per cent of the total number of children and young people in the district in 2021.
In this region there is also a particular need for foster carers to take on sibling groups.
My Forever Family NSW spokesperson, Michelle Stacpoole said there was an “urgent needs for carers”.
The group is a government-funded program operated by Adopt Change to train and advocate for foster and kinship carers and guardians and adoptive parents in the out-of-home care sector.
“These are children and young people who can’t live safely with their family and need a safe and nurturing place to call home,” Ms Stacpoole said.
To find new carers for the region, foster carer trainers, My Forever Family will hold a free Becoming a Carer for Kids information Session.
“The session will raise awareness about the critical need for more people to care for children currently living in the state care system [and] raise the urgent need for carers for sibling groups in the Nepean Blue Mountains region, to ensure that siblings in care can stay together and thrive”.
She said 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.
“Being a carer for kids is not a one size fits all. There are many ways you can help children thrive. It’s a chance for people considering becoming carers now to understand the next steps.”
The local information session is on Tuesday March 14 from 5.30pm-7pm at Penrith Bowling and Recreation. Attendees will hear the first-hand experiences of current carers. But there is also a state-wide online session on March 30 from 7-8pm. Book here: https://www.eventsforchange.org.au/infosession