Throughout Queensland, everyday people are opening their homes on a temporary, short-term or long-term basis to care for children and young people in need of a safe and supportive environment.
However, there are currently not enough foster carers to deal with the demand, with more than 10,500 children and young people needing care throughout the state on any given day of the week.
General Manager for Children, Youth and Families at Churches of Christ in Queensland, Leanne Rutherford said they are welcoming as many foster carers as possible to meet the need.
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“As carers are already in critically short supply, there is a growing need for individuals who can commit to serve as foster caregivers to children and young people,” she said.
“We need all kinds of carers from many different backgrounds and cultures, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families. As well as carers who are able to provide emergency, short-term and long-term care and are able to support all children to stay connected to their families and communities while they are living away from home.”
Foster carer Karen knows first-hand the positive impact a foster carer can make in the life of a child or young person who comes into their care.
“I’ve done all types of foster caring, including respite care, urgent placements and permanent placements. They all have one thing in common – it’s emotionally rewarding,” she said.
Since commencing her foster caring journey eight years ago, Karen has played the role of a parent, friend, counsellor and advocate for the children and young people in her care.
She has supported new born babies through to teenage children, giving them a home where they feel loved, safe and can share in the laughter and happiness.
“Each child is different, they come from different backgrounds, and pose different challenges. The most they want is love and a safe place. That’s it. That’s all they’re chasing,” Karen said.
“The great thing is that we’re not in this alone. Churches of Christ in Queensland provides us with support and they talk to us before we welcome the child or young person to our home. We know what’s going on with the child, what’s been happening, what sort of a placement it will be.”
Karen has become a passionate advocate for foster care and encourages people in her community to look into it themselves.
“If you have love in your heart and want to share it with children, and give them a safe place they can call home, this is where you should be,” she said.
“We need foster carers. We don’t have enough foster carers at the moment, so if this is something you were looking into contact your local people and have a chat with them.”
If you can provide a safe and caring home for a child or young person, visit IttakesaCommunity.com.au or call 1800 222 273.