Foster care info night in Muswellbrook

Across Australia, there are more than 40,000 children and young people who rely upon foster carers and the foster care system to keep them safe and out of harm’s way. More than 20,000 of those at-risk youths are in New South Wales.

Of the 20,000 children in need of foster care in this state, 49% are located right here in the Hunter Valley and Central Coast. With a severe shortage in foster carers and parents throughout the Hunter-Manning region, the need for carers with the capacity to help a child has become all but dire.

“These alarming statistics reinforce the necessity of the care provided by foster carers, supported by agencies such as CatholicCare, to create a permanent and safe home where these children can feel secure and thrive,” CatholicCare Director, Gary Christensen told the Muswellbrook Chronicle.

It is the need for foster carers which has motivated CatholicCare to host ongoing foster care information evenings throughout the Hunter-Manning region. The next event is scheduled for 28 March in Muswellbrook.

CatholicCare’s foster care information evenings are intended for anyone who is wanting to make a difference in a child’s life through foster care and/or adoption, as well as anyone who is interested in learning more about permanency support programs.

Types of foster care

CatholicCare is a relationship-based organisation with an emphasis on family. It’s goal is to meet the need for foster carers through a recruitment system which trains and supports foster carers.

CatholicCare offers four types of foster care, including immediate, respite care, restoration and permanent. These are:

Immediate foster care is when emergency placements are necessary for children who are in need of immediate placement. Emergency foster carers provide care for very young children on short notice. This type of care is typically for a short period of time.

Respite foster care is when a child’s parents or primary carers need a break from their role as carer. Respite foster care is typically for a short period of time and is often required for weekends, school holidays, or short blocks of time throughout the week.

Restoration foster care is typically short to medium-term care which can be anything from an overnight stay to as long as 12 months. Restoration placements have a strong focus on reunifying the child with their birth family or close relatives.

Permanent foster care is typically for six months or longer. Long-term or permanent foster care situations are necessary when reunification with birth parents or close relatives is not possible. These placements require a high degree of commitment and often lead to adoption.

“Immediate, respite, restoration and permanent foster carers are urgently required for children of all ages,” Gary Christensen said of the foster care crisis.

“We’re seeking carers of all ages who can provide care for a few days at a time, to those who can provide a home for life.”

Becoming a foster carer

There are several steps involved in becoming a foster carer with CatholicCare, including suitability assessments and training. The first step is to attend one of our foster care info sessions.

“You don’t have to be Catholic to be a carer with CatholicCare - and we welcome singles, couples and even families to be carers,” said Gary Christensen.