CatholicCare has supported Foster Care Week since its introduction by the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies in 1990.
This year’s festivities include an Interagency Foster Care Picnic, a collaboration involving foster care agencies in the Hunter region, which usually attracts over 500 carers. To recognise its carers, CatholicCare will hold a ‘thank you’ lunch where carers will enjoy a two-course meal, a special gift and babysitting services. The aim of the lunch is to acknowledge the achievements and milestones of foster carers and the children in their care. Furthermore, it will provide an opportunity for foster carers to connect with one another, to learn from leading experts and to celebrate their significant role.
There are currently over 150 children in CatholicCare’s Out of Home Care program and CatholicCare is dedicated to assisting them to reach their full potential. Being a foster carer is both challenging and rewarding and CatholicCare provides all its carers with ongoing training, support and development opportunities. A ‘24/7’ support hotline is available for those moments when carers need to speak with someone who understands.
Children, youth and families in the Out of Home Care program often require counselling and CatholicCare is able to accommodate these needs, providing a full support service, making the journey easier for families.
The counselling service provided by CatholicCare can be tailored to suit individual requirements. To ensure counselling is accessible and affordable, counselling can occur via a referral under a Mental Health Care Plan from a doctor, where bulk billing may be available or via an affordable government-subsidised counselling service for individuals, children, couples and families.
CatholicCare also provides a range of evidence-based parenting courses facilitated by a consultant Parent Educator. These courses include Triple P, Parents as Teachers, 123 Magic and Bringing Up Great Kids. These courses help equip foster carers with the skills to provide a structured, loving and supportive home environment. CatholicCare is always looking for ways to communicate more effectively with carers and assist with their foster care journey. Earlier this year, a weekly walking group for carers and support staff was initiated, to encourage exercise, relationship-building and the sharing of experiences, providing an opportunity to meet informally and further develop the support CatholicCare offers.
CatholicCare opened an office in Gloucester in August, its fifth office in the Hunter and Manning regions.