Finding a home for Mark: a foster care story

CatholicCare is urgently seeking someone - a single, couple or family - to provide care for a 15-year-old boy, Mark*, who has been living in crisis motel accommodation for over six months.

Can you help? We will provide you with an allowance, 24/7 emergency support, training and a dedicated care team that will guide you and Mark on your journey together.

About Mark

Mark is a proud Aboriginal living in the Lower Hunter.

Like many boys his age, he loves going to school and spending time with his friends. He enjoys playing basketball, drinking mochas and going to the beach. He is a strong and resilient young man, enjoys his independence, loves cooking and has a casual job.

Unlike boys his age, Mark is unable to live with family due to concerns for his safety and because of a severe lack of foster carers, the Department of Family and Community Services placed Mark in crisis motel accommodation.

In spite of his resilience, six-months of living in crisis motel accommodation with great uncertainty surrounding his future is starting to take its toll on Mark.

If you have a spare room in your home for Mark, and time to guide him, CatholicCare would love to hear from you! You can help turn his life around.

Mark is desperate for the stability of a home environment and compassion from someone who will provide unconditional care for him and offer him guidance.

CatholicCare is looking for a carer for Mark who has time to spend with him, interest in supporting him to achieve his goals and a willingness to foster his cultural identity.

If you can help Mark, or children like him, please contact CatholicCare as soon as possible. You can find out more information about Mark on CatholicCare’s website, as well as additional information about foster care, guardianship and open adoption.

 Alternatively, you can call the CatholicCare team on 1300 590 898

Foster care crisis in New South Wales

As CatholicCare Director, Gary Christensen, highlighted in a recent NBN News story, there is a drastic shortage of carers willing to provide a safe place for vulnerable children, particularly older children such as Mark.

This shortage has resulted in approximately 30 local children being placed in crisis motel accommodation throughout the Hunter and Central Coast.

Speaking to NBN News about the shortage of carers, Mr Christensen said: “We have kids who need care and we just don’t have enough carers.

“It takes a village to raise children and we really need people in our village of the Hunter area to come together and put their hands up to provide care for kids in need.”

Who can be a foster carer?

When it comes to the requirements for becoming a foster carer, the most essential criteria is to be able to provide a safe and nurturing environment.

“Being a carer is an incredibly important role. Therefore, if you decide you would like to provide care for vulnerable children you will be asked about many aspects of your life to ensure you are prepared for the task at hand and open to support.

In particular, CatholicCare will look at your ability to draw from and apply your own personal experiences to the caring role as well as your receptiveness to partnering with others, including CatholicCare staff and children's families, to ensure you are equipped to provide quality day-to-day care for children which promotes their development, self-esteem and assists them in reaching their potential.

To learn more about the requirements of being a foster carer, visit CatholicCare’s website.

Types of foster care

Children come into care for a variety of reasons - sometimes a permanent home is required for them and at other times, only short term care is required to provide respite for birth parents or whilst restoration to family is explored. Accordingly, we are seeking carers who can support these children for varying lengths of time, from a single night through to open adoption and guardianship.

Carers can state the type of care they are open to - there is no pressure on carers to provide a certain type or length of care.

Despite the reason for a child coming into care, or the length of time they remain in care, it is imperative carers have a positive regard for birth families.

“Children come into care for all sorts of reasons and too often families, birth families, are judged for those issues.

“What we need to do is work with those families and where it is safe to do so, restore children  to the home of their birth parents or family network. Where the permanent return of a child to the birth family is not possible we engage with carers that are seeking to provide permanent care to develop plans that provide children with a safe home for life, which may lead to guardianship and open adoption,” Mr Christensen said.

Click here to learn more about the different types of foster care.

Find out more about foster care

To help educate and inform those curious about foster care, open adoption and guardianship, CatholicCare regularly hosts information sessions throughout Newcastle, the Hunter and Manning regions.

CatholicCare’s next information session is scheduled for 23 May in Maitland. Alternatively, if you would prefer to discuss becoming a carer one-on-one, CatholicCare can visit you in your home or you can make an appointment to see one of their friendly staff at one of their office locations including Mayfield, Cardiff, Maitland, Muswellbrook, Singleton, Gloucester, Taree and Forster.

If you’d like to register to attend a foster care information session, please click here.

Lizzie Snedden Image
Lizzie Snedden

Lizzie is the Stakeholder Engagement Manager for CatholicCare Social Services.