My Forever Family NSW honours the extraordinary foster, relative and kinship carers, guardians and adoptive parents who bring stability to the lives of children and young people in care this Foster and Kinship Care Week. But there remains a critical shortage of carers in the Illawarra and Shoalhaven regions and 16,160 children living in out-of-home care in the state of NSW
To attract and inform new carers, My Forever Family NSW will hold a free online Becoming a Carer Information Session for local residents on Tuesday 21 September at 7pm to raise awareness about the critical need for more people to become involved in caring for children currently living in the out of home care system.
Children and young people who can’t live safely with their family short term or long term are in need of a stable home now.
Kids like “Billy” and “Ruby”. Billy is 10 years old. He’s curious, clever and loves hugs. He adores animals, especially dogs and would love to have one someday. At school he loves maths and playing handball, and his favourite dinners are spaghetti and tacos. Ruby is a 13-year-old girl who is caring and compassionate and wants to live with a family who cares about her, and who wants to include her in their activities. She loves dancing, swimming, art and cooking.
The session will inform potential carers of the different options of care available and will be an opportunity to ask questions of local agencies, be introduced to the services of My Forever Family NSW and hear the first-hand experiences of current carers.
There are many different types of care options available to suit individual and family circumstances, all of which will be covered in the information session. While becoming the full-time carer of a child may not suit everyone, options such as part-time care introduce the idea of becoming part of a child’s extended support network for one weekend once a month, or on school holidays. Carers are needed for older, school-aged children and young people, sibling groups, as well as younger children.
Experienced carer and Illawarra local Julie said, “Caring is an amazing thing. Carers take the most vulnerable children into their homes either for one night or many nights or years, and this can change a child’s outcome for the future. It is the most rewarding thing any loving adult can do. It can be hard work, but you can change the lives of children and young people just by opening your heart.“
Renée Carter, CEO of Adopt Change which operates My Forever Family NSW talked about the significance of the program for the local community and the urgent need for carers. “Being a carer for kids is not a one size fits all. There are many ways you can help children thrive. These sessions are an opportunity to ask questions about becoming a carer in an open and relaxed setting, and to chat directly with those who have lived experience as carers.”
You can find more information about My Forever Family NSW at www.myforeverfamily.org.au
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