More carers needed in Penrith, Blue Mountains

Posted on 24 April 2024
Category News

Source: Western Weekender

By: Cassidy Pearce

April 24, 2024

In the Nepean and Blue Mountains areas, there are currently 1717 children and young people living in out-of-home care, making up 11.7 per cent of all children and young people in out-of-home care in the state who can’t live safely with their family.

It’s for this reason that My Forever Family NSW is targeting a campaign towards local families, with an abundance of ways for you to help.

According to My Forever Family NSW spokesperson Michelle Stacpoole, these local statistics are incredibly alarming, and are representative of the need in the area.

“Across the state, we have almost 15,000 children and young people living in care. We do find that the need for carers in regional areas such as the Blue Mountains and beyond is higher as opposed to the inner areas and major cities, where the percentage of children and young people in care is a little bit lower,” she said.

“That’s why we’re targeting this campaign in the Mountains area and through the Nepean area as well, because we really do need people in the community to step up now more than ever to consider opening their homes and providing a safe place for these kids and, in particular, teenagers in the area.”

However, it’s not just in these areas that carers are needed, with a decline being seen across the state.

“We do know that the carer population is ageing, and ageing out of being able to provide care for children and young people, and unfortunately we are seeing, particularly since COVID, less people in a position to open their homes to young people in need. Conversely, we still have hundreds and thousands of children in the state who do need a safe place to call home,” Stacpoole said.

There are many different types of care, with caring for children and young people not a one size fits all scenario.

“If you are able to provide that long-term and permanent care, that’s fantastic, but also there are things such as short-term and part-time care, and emergency care, which is caring for children and young people for a shorter amount of time whilst more suitable care arrangements can be found,” Stacpoole said.

“We know for busy working professionals, they may not be able to open their home on a permanent basis, but they may have time on weekends to be able to provide some care to extend the support network for a child or young person.”

In the Nepean and Blue Mountains areas, My Forever Family NSW is in need of carers who can specifically support teenagers, allowing them to stay connected with their school and friends in the local area.

“[We’re looking for someone] who has the time and the skills to provide that safe space for a teenager, and also understands what it’s like to navigate those teenage years, so the homework commitments, the sporting commitments, all those teen-related issues that can arise,” Stacpoole said.

The role of a carer is an extremely rewarding one, with Stacpoole encouraging anyone who has ever considered getting involved to do so.

“When it comes down to it, you could be the person or the carer to make a difference in a young person’s life. To provide that stability and that support that comes from having a safe place to sleep, and a place to play, and to support and to learn, and so that these kids know where their next meal is coming from, they know that they’ve got a roof over their head, and that they’ve got someone in their corner supporting them,” she said.

You can find more information about My Forever Family NSW at