CatholicCare Foster Carers Recognised

The 2015 National Carer Awards - New South Wales Final was held recently at Parliament House in Sydney. The ceremony was hosted by the Hon John Ajaka, Minister for Ageing and Minister for Disability Service.

CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning submitted two nominations for outstanding Foster Carers from its Out of Home Care program, and both nominations were selected as finalists.

Director of CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning, Helga Smit and Foster Care Recruitment and Support Manager, Kim Creigh, attended the ceremony and were proud to see Bryan and Mary Kelb, along with Jeannie Bokodi, given national recognition for the incredible work they do. “Foster carers such as Mary, Bryan and Jeannie give children and young adults the stability and support they need to create a future they may have once thought was impossible. Foster carers instil positive change for the people they care for and also for our communities. I congratulate Mary, Bryan and Jeannie for their contribution and for being named as finalists at today’s celebration,” said Ms Smit.

Bryan and Mary Kelb have cared for five very different children throughout the years, from a newborn to an adolescent. However, they don't see these as challenges, rather just a part of the experience of loving the children in their care. Mary would say to the children if ever asked, "my love for you is like an elastic band - it continues to grow."

Bryan and Mary understand the importance of maintaining relationships between the children in their care and the children’s birth families, and have always gone ‘above and beyond’ in ensuring constant communication and connection when possible.

Jeannie is a relative carer who cares for four of her grandchildren between the ages of 7-10. The grandchildren in Jeannie’s care have complex health needs and require extensive support to manage their behavioural and health needs. Jeannie is admired within CatholicCare’s Out of Home Care program in that she has refused to do anything else but care for all four children together so they can be placed with their family despite the ongoing challenge of each child’s health and behavioural needs.

Despite these needs, Jeannie has shown commitment, warmth and a positive attitude to the role as a carer. Jeannie consistently attends the children’s school meetings, paediatrician appointments, speech therapy sessions, occupational therapy and psychologist appointments which play an integral role in ensuring their health needs are being met.  

Although neither Mary, Bryan nor Jeannie won the coveted award today, each and every day they are winners in the eyes of the children they support.

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