Short films aim to debunk misconceptions about foster care

In recognition of Foster and Kinship Care Week 2018 (9-15 September), Catholic Care Social Services Hunter Manning launched two short films aimed at debunking misconceptions and reinforcing the importance of foster care in our community.

The compelling videos feature a series of statements that young people and carers respond to, sometimes with opposing views, informed by their unique experience.

The first video interviews six young people, ages 18-20, about their first-hand experience as a young person in care. The young people respond to statements including;

  • I only ever had one set of foster carers
  • When I was in foster care, I never saw my natural family
  • My contact visits were always easy
  • My foster carers were perfect parents
  • As a child in foster care, I never felt part of the family
  • After I was in care, I never heard from my foster carers
  • Moving in with my foster family wasn’t easy
  • I was grateful for the help my foster carers gave me

“We’re incredibly grateful to the young people who bravely provided viewers with insight into their upbringing in this short film,” said Gary Christensen, Director of CatholicCare Social Services Hunter Manning.

“The diversity of the young people’s experiences, reflected in the responses, highlight the importance of children and young people being raised in safe, stable and nurturing homes,” Gary said.

The second video interviews seven carer households including individuals and families who provide respite, immediate and restorative care and carers who have also provided long-term foster care, guardianship and open-adoption.  The carers respond to statements including;

  • Foster caring is only for empty nesters who need extra income
  • Foster caring is only for people who have been parents before
  • Foster caring has a negative impact on biological children
  • Foster caring is a trial period for those looking to adopt
  • Kids in foster care are kids whose behaviour meant their parents couldn’t handle them
  • When you have a child in foster care, you are on your own to work it out
  • Your job as a foster carer is to protect kids from their biological parents
  • You don’t have to have contact with the birth parents
  • It is not necessary to foster a child’s cultural identity, religion or family traditions
  • Saying goodbye to a child in care is easy
  • Foster caring is a walk in the park and all my friends and family understand why I do it

“There is an ever-increasing need for foster carers across NSW and particularly in the Hunter. As a community, we must unite to support and nurture vulnerable children and young people,” Gary said. 

 “We were motivated to develop these videos as when our staff and carers would talk to people in the community about foster and kinship care it became clear there were many misconceptions, outdated views and more broadly, a general lack of understanding about what foster care is and why it is so important.

“These videos are a great educational tool for prospective foster carers, which will help them to prepare for the reality of foster care and the powerful impact they can have in shaping children and young peoples’ lives.

“I’d also encourage people who haven’t considered becoming a carer, but have a social conscious to watch the videos. The two videos go for a combined total of fewer than 30 minutes and will provide viewers with a heightened understanding of the world around them and the adversity and experiences others face.

"This Foster and Kinship Care Week CatholicCare’s focus was to support vulnerable children and young people, their natural families and carers by debunking foster and kinship care myths, eliminating stigmas and highlighting avenues for increased support and understanding," Gary said.

To watch the videos visit CatholicCare’s website or to register to attend one of CatholicCare’s upcoming information sessions, phone (02) 4944 0700.

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Lizzie Watkin Image
Lizzie Watkin

Lizzie is Team Leader Content for the Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle.