Foster care agency, Anglicare (NSW South, NSW West & ACT) continues to recruit, train and support foster carers even during COVID-19 restrictions to meet urgent and increasing need for carers during a year that has caused unexpected upheaval for many families, particularly those who are already vulnerable. Anglicare’s Permanency Support Program Executive Manager, Ann Ponsonby, is encouraging more families in the Riverina to consider becoming foster carers during this time.
“Becoming a foster carer is a big step which is why Anglicare offers so much support for potential and current foster carers. COVID-19 has caused stress for many vulnerable families who now need additional help and support which has driven up our need to recruit carers,” explains Ms Ponsonby. “It doesn’t have to be a long-term commitment. We are also looking for emergency, short-term and respite carers.”
Anglicare has moved a number of training options online and have implemented COVID-safety measures to protect children, their families, carers and staff. Anglicare also conduct online Foster Carer Information Sessions for people interested in finding out more about foster care before making a decision.
Riverina local, Katrina, has been foster caring through Anglicare for the past five years. “My mother and grandmother were both foster carers so I think it was inevitable that I’d become one too,” says Katrina. “I don’t think I could do this without the help of the Anglicare team. With COVID-19 they’ve offered additional help and respite. It helps me love what I do. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
Katrina cares for three young boys, as well as a teenage biological daughter. “I think it’s a great learning experience for my daughter. Being a foster sibling can teach biological children to have greater empathy and compassion.”
The boys Katrina cares for, like all children in care, have experienced some level of trauma. As the children visit psychologists and adjust to a more consistent life, the transition and healing can sometimes be difficult.
“Having people offering respite care gives parents like me a rest which is really appreciated. Some days can be tough. But when you see the children trying out a skill for the first time, becoming more relaxed, or suddenly giving you a hug, it melts your heart. It makes the tough days worthwhile. I don’t think anyone would regret becoming a foster carer. These children just want to be loved,” says Katrina.
For more information about becoming a respite, short-term or long-term foster carer with Anglicare visit www.anglicare.com.au. There are children in the Riverina who urgently need foster care placements. Call 1300 990 770 for more information.