Being a Foster Carer

It is National Carers Week; we celebrate and thank all Carers. 

A Proud Mum of Foster Kids!

Being a Foster Carer has been one of my most rewarding achievements. Seeing a child walk in to your home scared and insecure is heart breaking. Seeing a child walk out of your home with a smile on their face ready to face the world – that is what I call beauty!

Grampians Community Health is excited to hear about the continuing commitment from the state government to support some of our most vulnerable young people who live in out of home care. Numbers of young people requiring, short, medium, long term and even permanent care are increasing therefore we need more carers to share in this much needed commitment.

GCH believes in and supports equality for all, in particular for those that often have little or no voice and face a range of challenges. For young people in out of home care and who live in rural and remote areas, the challenges can be even more significant. Having been part of this great community for over 30 years, GCH is aware of the challenges that living in rural and remote areas can be as well as the great opportunities that exist in our region.  GCH offers a range of supports to people who might already be or thinking of fostering. We provide a range of supports to Carers, access to counselling, links to social opportunities, mental health support, education connections and an intake and referral system to meet everyone’s needs.

In our local community, the out of home care agency that provides a range of foster care options is Uniting Care. GCH values the amazing work that Uniting undertake in this space and we are always happy to provide complimentary services to support carers, young people and extended family and friends. GCH recognises that being a foster carer can be a challenging and rewarding opportunity. The commitment from the state government to provide extra support to carers is welcome and acknowledges the different world we now live in and the make-up of our community is diverse and always changing, therefore policy needs to reflect that change.

Much more work is needed and we need to build on the recent exiting range of commitments to strengthen and reform the out of home care sector. We encourage anyone who might be thinking of becoming a carer to find out more information or to come in and have a chat to one of the many friendly and dedicated staff members at GCH.

In Victoria, it is estimated that nearly 10,000 children currently live in out of home care. About 40% are in foster care, 48% in relative/kinship care and the rest in other forms of home based care. In Australia over 45,000 children live in out of home care and this number continues to rise.

About 40% of those in out of home care have been in that system for 5 years or more. As a community, we have a responsibility to provide care for our most vulnerable and the need for Carers has never been greater. We encourage people, who might have thought about fostering, to take that first step and to find out more.

As a local carer recently said “I was unsure about my ability to be a carer and the extra demands that would come along with it, however after over 15 years of being a foster carer I wouldn’t change a thing. The experience has been so rewarding and the kids in my care have provided me with memories and experiences I will cherish forever” they also went on to say “I encourage anyone who might be thinking of being a foster carer to contact your local agency and to find out more”.

For information on Grampians Community Health Services call 53587400 or drop into our offices in Stawell, Horsham, Ararat, Warracknabeal or St Annaud.

Ready for the NDIS great wave of change

Grampians Community Health is registered NDIS provider

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) will roll out in the Western District of Victoria on the 1st of October 2017, creating opportunities for people with a disability and also Grampians Community Health.

The NDIS rollout will occur in the local government areas of Hindmarsh, Horsham, Northern Grampians, West Wimmera and Yarriambiack. These changes to funding and the need to navigate unchartered waters has created many challenges to the way services traditionally have been provided for not for profit organisations such as Grampians Community Health.

The NDIS is about Choice and Control in delivering funds directly to the participant to choose the services they want from NDIS providers, where once, the funding went directly to the organisation to put in place services for people to access.

Grampians Community Health (GCH) Chief Executive Officer Mr Greg Little said his organisation is committed to providing services through the NDIS without compromising on the GCH history of quality care and support to the community. This has meant that GCH has been working hard toward adapting service delivery to meet the needs of the community and the types of areas people are asking for in their NDIS plans.

Mr Little said “There has been significant planning around how GCH can re-align with the new funding arrangements. Ongoing training and education to staff, and recruitment to meet the needs for both our existing and new participants is a priority in preparedness for the rollout to our local communities on the 1st of October”.

Mr Little said that GCH is a registered NDIS provider. GCH has already been providing services to NDIS participants in the Ararat Rural City Council area since January 2017 and 30 NDIS participants are receiving services in accordance to their plans and goals stated by the participants themselves, and this has helped GCH remodel service delivery to be flexible to people’s needs.

“To date, in navigating the new NDIS requirements with both existing transitioning participants into providing NDIS services, and new participants to GCH, we have been on a huge learning curve around the NDIS Guidelines and identifying solutions to manage the many challenges.” said Mr Little

To assist and guide people through the NDIS towards eligibility and the plan, GCH are offering free individual information sessions in our Stawell office. This can be tailored to a person’s needs such as providing information on how to access the NDIS, or, advice if they have a plan already on how to proceed in purchasing services – which doesn’t necessarily need to be from GCH .

Mr Little said that Grampians Community Health are committed to provide a quality, flexible and individualised service to all participants and will continue to re-align our organisations with the NDIS requirements where possible. This includes the introduction of plan management to assist in setting up your services and we are already providing support coordination. Other areas GCH is implementing under the NDIS are social and recreational activities, skill development and group activities.

“The NDIS focus is all about Choice and Control in what types of supports and services you want and when you want them. It’s about a whole of life approach and living the life you want. This is consistent with Grampians Community Health’s philosophy embedded in every service we provide in our community” said Mr Little.

Some of Grampians Community Health’s participants are continuing with their existing services while others are already looking at broader options available that previously were not considered. For example, one person has chosen to travel to Ballarat in the evening to participate in sport, another has chosen to attend the car races in various venues on a Saturday, and another person is cooking for the first time and attending a live show in the city.

Grampians Community Health has been operating in the Stawell area for over 32 years, and also has offices in Ararat, Horsham, St Arnaud and Warracknabeal with our mission statement to provide for a vibrant and healthy community.

For more information read our NDIS services information.


Measles – what you need to know

The Department of Health and Human Services confirms that there have been 11 confirmed cases of Measles in Melbourne since early September, with 8 of the 11 cases connected through a workplace in Collins Street, Docklands. Two other people affected passed through Melbourne’s international terminal on flights to and from Asia.

Measles is a contagious viral illness that causes a skin rash and fever. Serious and sometimes fatal complications include pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation). Worldwide, measles is the fifth highest cause of illness and death in children.

Measles is transmitted by airborne droplets and direct contact with discharges from respiratory mucous membranes of infected persons and less commonly by articles freshly soiled with nose and throat secretions. It persist in the environment for 30min, including hard surfaces like door handles.

Measles is highly infectious through airborne transmission and has an incubation period of up to 18 days, from exposure to onset of rash.

People at risk include children or adults born during or since 1966 who do not have documented evidence of receiving two doses of a measles-containing vaccine, or documented evidence of laboratory-confirmed measles immunity are considered to be susceptible to measles.

People who are immunocompromised are also at risk.

The best way to prevent infection is to ensure that you and your loved ones are up to date you’re your immunisations. Please check you immunisation records and see your GP if you are in doubt.

What to do if you have been exposed to someone with Measles:

If you’ve been in contact with someone with measles and you are not immune to measles (have not been immunised or have not had a measles infection), there are different treatment options. Speak with your doctor about your options.

Depending on your situation, these may include: Contact in the last 72 hours – have a measles immunisation immediately.

Contact in the last three to seven days – immunoglobulin can be given for interim protection. This is known as passive immunisation. Measles vaccination, or active immunisation, should be given later to prevent further risk of infection, but not until five months after you received the immunoglobulin. Normal human immunoglobulin is given as an injection.

For further information on measles signs and symptoms please refer to the Better Health Channel

Source: The Victorian Department of Health and Better Health Channel