UP to 1000 foster carers are set to be recruited as part of a several measures to improve the safety of Queensland children.
The carers are being supported through an $18.3 million investment announced by Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman.
It is a move welcomed by existing carers and organisations struggling to meet the demand.
Anglicare Logan case worker Brooke Prickett said there had been an increase in children entering the foster system.
I also remind myself that I can’t help children who need me, if I hold on to those who don’t need me anymore.Mel, foster carer from the Redlands
“All of our carers are at capacity and there are more children who are coming into care,” Ms Prickett said.
With two biological children of her own, and four in foster care, Mel* said fostering was the hardest thing anyone could do, but also the most rewarding.
She said many people would not contemplate fostering because they were scared of what might be involved and worried about how they would feel when children went back to their families.
Mel said she still had relationships with children she had fostered, together with their families, after the children had gone home.
“I also remind myself that I can’t help children who need me if I hold on to those who don’t need me anymore.”
Mel said from fostering over many years her biological children had learned to be humble, gracious and giving.
“It has brought out the best qualities in my children. They have realised that they have had quite a positive upbringing.”
The most important thing about being a carer is that you’re able to provide a stable and secure home for children and be open to enhancing your skills to meet a child’s needs.Brooke Prickett, Anglicare Logan case worker
Wendy, a single foster carer, caring for five children under the age of 12, said it was rewarding to see children blossom when they were no longer in a stressful home environment.
“I have a lot of love to give and there’s a need,” she said.
Natalie and her husband are biological parents to six children, and foster carers for two.
“I always said if there was enough room in the house and love in my heart then I would do it,” she said.
Ms Prickett said there were different types of carers and some children were placed long-term with a foster family until they turned 18 if they could not be reunified with their family.
Types of carers
- Emergency carers, who looked after children for the first three days after they went into care
- Respite carers, who helped out short-term to give relief to other carers
- Primary carers, who looked after children for any length of time after the first three days of emergency care
Ms Prickett said anyone could become a carer, including people who were single, couples in a same-sex relationship, people without children living at home and people who work.
The age of carers varies, with Ms Prickett having worked with carers aged from 25 to 84 years old.
“The most important thing about being a carer is that you’re able to provide a stable and secure home for children and be open to enhancing your skills to meet a child’s needs.”
For more information about becoming a foster carer, contact Brooke Prickett on 3340 9299 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit anglicaresq.org.au/children-and-families/foster-kinship-care.
*Surnames of foster carers have been omitted to protect children in their care.