In Australia today, unfortunately there are thousands of children and young people who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to remain living with their own parents. Whether they have been victims of abuse, neglect or a tragic accident involving their parents, these children need safe and nurturing environments to help them find a path to a brighter future. This is often provided by foster carers.
Fostering gives a child a home for as long as they need it but the aim is to reunite the child with their family as soon as that is a safe and secure option. Sometimes this is not possible, and the child stays in care until they are 18 years of age.
Types of fostering
There is a range of fostering options offered by Churches of Christ Care Pathways.
Provides full-time or part-time family-based care in your home for a child or children who are in desperate need of a safe environment. The timeframes can vary and range from a few days to many years.
Involves a member of the extended family or someone important to the child providing care to children who are no longer able to live with their parents. This style of foster care reflects the individual needs of children and young people, enabling them to retain connections with their family, community, language and culture.
In selected locations we also offer:
Involves providing a safe and nurturing environment for a young person with challenging behaviours or circumstances. This challenging behaviour has typically resulted from a history of significant abuse or neglect. Specialist foster carers are trained and supported by professional therapists and youth workers. Perseverance, remaining calm under pressure and the ability to help the young person re-establish trust and hope are necessary traits for specialist foster carers.
Also called respite care, this type of care involves taking children for weekends, holiday periods or on a regular fortnightly, monthly or occasional basis to enable the primary carers to have a break. Connect carers work closely with the primary carers to make sure there are similar rules and expectations of behaviour.
Challenges and rewards
Becoming a foster carer, no matter which type you choose, is an incredibly rewarding choice. For many people one of the greatest and most fulfilling decisions they make.
Foster carers often build life-long relationships with those in their care and impact these young people’s lives in significantly positive ways. Many young lives have been turned around and given new inspiration by the support and dedication of their foster carers.
Foster carers help to keep children and young people safe, while helping them to reach their potential. They use their skills and experiences to help others.
Being a foster carer presents you with a range of experiences that will not only help those you care for grow and prosper, but it can also help you achieve a sense of purpose and meaning as you make a positive difference in the lives of those you care for.
Many foster carers will tell you that there is no sense of satisfaction quite like when a young person you care for achieves an important milestone in their life, such as graduating high school, securing employment or making a sporting team.
Foster carers are a highly valued member of a team, are supported by trained staff and get the chance to meet other like-minded people.
Although fostering does have many rewards, it can also be very challenging. Foster carers may need to respond to children’s behaviours that they may not have previously experienced. If you have children, you will need to manage their feelings about having to share you and their home with someone else.
Foster carers also need to be able to say goodbye to children when they leave to return to their families.
While foster carers may face these or other challenges, Churches of Christ Care Pathways staff are always there to support the carer with training, advice and access to resources to enable them to provide the best home environment for the children and young people in their care.
To find out how you can become a foster carer click here »