This Foster Care Week, Fostering Connections is calling for 400 new foster homes for vulnerable children and young people.
Across Victoria, foster care households open their homes on a temporary, short term and long-term basis with the support of their local foster care agency.
Berry Street foster carer Leonie knows firsthand the positive impact a new foster home can make in the life of a child or young person needing care. Since commencing their journey as carers 16 months ago, she and her family have welcomed 21 children and young people into their home. These placements have varied from emergency to long-term foster care placements.
“At the end of the day, all kids need a caring and supportive home. Being a foster carer isn’t always easy, but even the most challenging children that stay with you can be wonderful and it’s an incredibly rewarding experience” Leonie said.
“As emergency carers, we often have a child staying with us for two weeks before having a two-week break. We’ve found that’s the best arrangement for our family”.
Leonie lives with her husband and five children in Melbourne’s north eastern suburbs. When Leonie mentions that she’s a foster carer, people often ask how her own children react to being part of a foster household.
“Our friends and neighbours often worry about how fostering impacts our kids. I tell them that they enjoy it as much as we do! In fact, our children play such an important role in making the kids who stay with us feel welcome that my husband and I call them ‘junior foster carers’.
Since becoming a carer, Leonie has become a passionate advocate for foster care and is encouraging people in her community to look into it themselves.
“From the minute we became carers, my husband and I said we wished we’d started fostering 20 years ago”.
“There are a few steps to becoming a foster carer but you’re supported the whole way. Our foster care agency Berry Street walked us through the process from start to finish. They also helped us understand whether fostering was the right fit for our family and if we were ready to provide a foster home”.
While becoming a foster carer can take time, it’s worth it. If you have ever thought about becoming a foster carer, now is the perfect opportunity to enquire as Victoria needs more foster carers. If you care about children and think fostering might be for you, it’s an incredible way to give back to your community.”
Interested in learning more? Call Fostering Connections on 1800 013 088.