Opening up both your home and your heart to take in a child in need is one of the most selfless things you can do. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. It’s completely normal to find yourself questioning whether or not you have what it takes to be a foster carer. Anglicare shed a little light on this important role and introduce you to some of the amazing children in need.
More than 2,400 children in NSW alone needed care in 2020-21. Anglicare was able to provide care for more than 160 of these children. In 2022, the need is growing, particularly for short-term care.
The simple fact is, every child deserves to have a happy and safe home, and foster carers can make this happen. Children who have been placed in foster care through Anglicare’s help have shown marked improvements in their social connections (71%), education progress (46%) and personal wellbeing (53%).
What is the role of a foster carer?
Some people may be familiar with an older style of foster care, where children were sadly moved many times between their birth family and various foster care families.
This model has changed, and there is plenty of different types of care needed.
Providing a secure, safe setting for a child or sibling group removed due to care and protection concerns. Referrals are received 24 hours a day and placements may be from a few days up to three months.
For children who are waiting for a Children’s Court decision on their long-term future, or who are to be restored to the care of their parent/s. Where children are to be restored, the carers may have a role in supporting the child and their birth family towards this goal. Placements may last a year or more.
Some children are placed in care under a final order until they reach the age of 18, sometimes with a view to adoption or guardianship. Carers commit to providing a long-term, stable, nurturing family where a child can integrate and grow securely.
Weekend and brief-stay respite
Weekend respite offers regular, ongoing support to a child in a current placement, usually one weekend a month. Brief-stay respite may be required to allow carers to take a short break or holiday, or in a medical emergency.
What makes a good foster carer?
Taking on the responsibility of a foster carer is a huge step to take, and you will have plenty of questions along the way. All foster carers receive ongoing training, a dedicated foster care manager and team leader to guide them along the foster carer journey so that you’re supported every step of the way.
Children need carers who enjoy spending time with them, and are able to provide a nurturing home environment. Anglicare is looking for foster carers who can care for children who may have high and complex needs due to neglect or abuse.
Other things that make a great carer include:
- Ability to provide a stable, safe and caring home environment
- Availability to care for a child
- Understanding and warmth
- Good sense of humour
- Caring and compassionate nature
- Strong desire to make a difference in a child’s life
Carers are welcomed from different family stages and situations, and different cultural and religious backgrounds.
Steps to become a foster carer
The process of becoming an authorised carer with Anglicare generally takes around six months and involves the following steps:
- Initial phone conversation with the assessment team
- Case managers visit your home for a preliminary interview
- Attend a three-day training course
- Submit your application
- Complete 4-6 assessment interview with case managers
Meet the children who need your help…
These children urgently need your help
David is a 7 year old who is very energetic and inquisitive, in need of foster carers who will care for him until he is an adult. He likes to ask lots of questions to learn about how things work. He has an interest in garden and household equipment and objects such as vacuum cleaners and leaf blowers. He enjoys being active and loves swimming, bike riding and jumping on the trampoline.
Melanie is an 11 and a half-year-old young girl who is very playful, curious and engaging. Melanie loves to be outdoors swimming, bushwalking, riding her bike, scooter, skateboard or even pogo stick! Melanie enjoys playing with dolls and toys like a much younger child. She needs a lot of routine, structure and predictability in her life to help her feel safe. Melanie really wants to have connections with people but can find it tricky at times.
Want to learn more?
Anglicare’s information sessions provide an opportunity to find out what’s involved in becoming a foster carer, learn more about the process, and ask their team any questions you might have.
The next session will be held on Tuesday 5 April at 7.30pm, online. Register here.
Visit Anglicare to read more about becoming a foster carer.