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Call out for foster carers on Foster Care Week

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Max Davies
Max Davies
Max is a journalist for the North Central Review. He joined the paper as a cadet journalist in 2021 and graduated from La Trobe University in 2023. He takes a keen interest in motorsport and the automotive industry.

By Max Davies

This week is Foster Care Week and one of the state’s largest foster care agencies Anglicare Victoria is calling for at least 90 more carers to meet a rise in demand.

There are currently about 46,000 Australian children in foster care, with carers working to provide a safe and supportive environment for children and young people who are unable to live with their own families.

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Anglicare Victoria is encouraging people to ‘play a part’ during Foster Care Week, inviting people to try being a foster carer – not only help care for vulnerable children but also to become part of a broader foster care community.

Anglicare Victoria chief executive Paul McDonald said the ongoing COVID-19 situation had put additional pressure on carers, with a national decline in people offering to care also contributing to current issues.

“After a couple of tough years during the pandemic, managing lockdowns, working from home and remote learning, we’ve had a number of carers decide to take a break from fostering,” he said.

“The number of new foster carers needed across all agencies in Victoria alone is estimated to exceed 700. The situation is urgent.

“Foster Care Week is the perfect time to consider helping a child in need by welcoming them into your home. It’s rewarding and it’s life-changing.”

Beveridge residents Amelia Sedawie and Ashley Dear have been accredited carers since 2020, mainly providing respite care and long-term care for adolescents.

Ms Sedawie said there were shortages in specialised carers for different situations.

“Because we provide care for teenagers there aren’t as many options, and sometimes because there’s not always respite carers available we might not be the best match for the kids for any reason,” she said.

“We’ve cared for four different kids and it’s really about building relationships with them, and there’s no pressure if it doesn’t work out.”

Foster care can come in multiple forms, including short-term care that can vary from a few days to a few months, or long-term care if a young person is unable to return home for an extended period of time.

Emergency care is also sometimes required, generally lasting for one or two nights before a more permanent home can be found.

Respite care is designed to give fulltime carers a break and could last for a weekend each month or for a week during the school holidays.

Ms Sedawie encouraged people to give foster caring a try, with support available from Anglicare Victoria to help with the process.

“Everyone should give it a go, even if they can do one night every six months it’ll help take the pressure off someone else or get a young person out of crisis accommodation where they might be uncomfortable with strangers around,” she said.

“There’s always support available for carers. If a young person is placed with you, the agency will call you the next day to see how you’re going and make sure you don’t feel alone in the process.

“No matter how little you can help out, it’s still making a difference in someone’s life.”

Anglicare Victoria is looking for all types of foster carers, ranging from respite care for a few hours on weekends to long-term care over multiple months.

Eligible adults can be all kinds of people, including people who are single, married, in same-sex relationships, older, younger, with or without their own children.

For more information and to enquire about being a foster carer, people can visit anglicarevic.org.au/fostering or call 1800 809 722.

To donate during Foster Care Week, visit donate.anglicarevic.org.au.

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