Being a foster carer can be a wonderful and enriching experience. Just ask Renata and her husband Sharif, who became foster carers of their nephew Jack* when he was just three-years-old. Not only has it helped Jack but it’s also been a blessing for their entire family. “When he came into the home, he was a bit unruly, he didn't actually have any stop button,” Renata says. “In the 14 years we've cared for him, he's turned into a happy, humble person. “Being a foster carer hasn't just helped us, it's also helped our children as well. It's actually helped us to open our hearts to children in need.”
Foster and Kinship Care Week (September 11-17) is an opportunity to recognise foster carers and the invaluable contribution they make to the lives of children, young people, and families in our community.
Foster carers desperately needed
“NSW is currently facing a crisis with the shortage of carers, with an unacceptable number of children and young people needing to reside in residential accommodation which is staffed by youth workers,” says Vanessa Thambyah, Deputy Manager, Fostering Young Lives. “TBS are committed to ensuring that there are carers for all types of placement, respite, short-term and long-term care.
“The sector is under resourced to do the critical work that is required to support these families and children.”
Steps to becoming a foster carer
The Benevolent Society’s Fostering Young Lives program provides Foster Care placements across Sydney for children and young people from birth to 18 years of age.
Our dedicated staff are there to guide you through the journey of becoming a foster carer. The exact amount of time it takes to become a carer varies depending on individual factors and situations.
Help every step of the way
Every step of the way, our staff are available to answer your questions, alleviate any concerns and guide you through everything you need to help a child flourish under your care. “When we came in with The Benevolent Society, we got a lot of support right from the get-go,” Renata says.
The Benevolent Society offers ongoing and support services to best meet the needs of children and their carers. We also provide carers with regular visits from a Case Manager, 24/7 on call support, financial assistance to help with the costs of raising a child and ongoing training opportunities.
“Part of the support that a foster carer would receive is a foster care allowance each fortnight, which is non-taxable income, to support the child or young person in their care,” Lisa McKenna, Senior Practitioner, Fostering Young Lives, explains. “If the child or young person might need additional supports, such as occupational therapy, physiotherapy, then we would assist with that as well. We also can provide respite for the carer for the child or young person.
“I would please encourage anyone who is considering it, or even has some questions, to reach out. We would love to hear from you.”
If you want to find out more about becoming a foster carer, join us for a free information session September 6 from 6-7.30pm at The Benevolent Society’s Liverpool office (Level 6/203 Northumberland St, Liverpool).
An online session will also be held on September 20 from 6.30-7.30pm. To register your interest for either event, email [email protected]
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, call The Benevolent Society’s Support Centre on 1800 236 762 or click here for more information.
*Name changed for privacy.