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.