Jenna Davey-Burns, Deputy Mayor of the City of Kingston and proud foster carer
Jenna Davey-Burns is a busy person. She’s the Deputy Mayor of the City of Kingston, a community volunteer, and she’s also been a foster carer for the last seven years.
Jenna has always loved working with kids, so becoming a carer was a natural next step for her.
“I became a foster carer because I wanted to provide support to children and families and I realised I had room in my life to care for children who needed that support.”
Along the way she’s made fostering fit around her circumstances
“My journey has been really varied. I’ve undertaken short-term, respite and long-term placements where at one time I had three young children in my care. I’ve cared for babies up to young people at 17 years of age.
Making a difference as a foster carer is all about the little moments that make up part of the bigger picture.
“There have been so many moments as a foster carer where I have realised the impact I have made, even in the smallest of ways. Perhaps the most meaningful was when one day my foster daughter came home and told me at school that day she decided she was running for school captain.
It meant so much to me to see that my journey campaigning as a woman for local council had inspired her to stand up and be a leader in her own school”
When you become a foster carer, you become part of a community. During her fostering journey, Jenna’s local community rallied around her to provide her with support. Especially as she was working full-time as a single carer.
“I had one mum in my community who every Tuesday night came around with a basket of home-cooked bread with instructions on the container with how much to heat the oven, how long to cook it for. Those kinds of moments were the things that kept me going as a foster carer”.
“The thing I have loved is seeing so many people become part of these children’s lives, as aunties, as family friends, providing roles that I am not always able to provide as a single carer.”
When Jenna first began fostering, she opened her home to Aboriginal children, an experience she says helped strengthen her understanding of Aboriginal culture.
“I am proud to have cared for Aboriginal children, and one of the most important things to me as a non-Aboriginal carer was ensuring that we all maintained a strong connection to culture.”
Jenna says that there are many practical ways for non-Aboriginal people can support that connection to culture.
“We went on Indigenous walks and during lockdown I rang Bangarra and asked to deliver to a dance class online. Seeing these young kids break dance around the living room to Baker Boy was such a highlight.”
Foster carers are not expected to be experts in Aboriginal culture when they first apply but being curious and open to learning is an important place to start.
“Reach out to your local Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation for support and ask for help on your journey as a foster carer and to make sure culture is something that is really celebrated in your household.
“The most important thing is that kids feel proud and that they understand their culture is resilient.”
The best outcome is for all children to be raised in a family environment with a strong connection to their identity and culture.
“The way I see it is that the role of foster carers can be to support families to get back on track. I know my role has been really important to support families to reunify to ensure those children have a safe place to be. It takes a whole community to raise children, and no parent should have to go it alone.”
During Foster Care Week, Jenna is calling on more people to play a part in their community by becoming foster carers.
“Victorians from all walks of life can sign up to become a foster carer and contribute in really meaningful ways. The is room in everyone’s lives to become a carer.”
Interested in becoming a foster carer?
Victorians from all walks of life can play a part in their community by becoming foster carers. To get started, give us a call on 1800 013 088 or enquire online.