BALLARAT needs a four-fold increase in the number of foster carers to look after its adolescents placed in out-of-home-care, an expert has said.
Berry Street Ballarat high risk adolescent manager Matthew Chandler said the agency was swamped and needed more people to put up their hand.
“We currently have 10 foster carers,” Mr Chandler said.
“We are looking to recruit another 40 home-based foster carers or families to care for adolescents between 12 to 18 years.
“There is a severe shortage of foster carers for this particular age.”
The group, he said, could be hard to place but a good fit could be very fulfilling to both the carer and the youth.
“Carers play a crucial role in addressing the day to day needs of these vulnerable young people in our community,” Mr Chandler said.
“When you get those really supportive and positive environments and role models you can see positive outcomes.”
Mr Chandler said they were looking not just for long-term carers but also short term, respite and emergency carers.
“We provide a strong supportive network for carers with initial as well as ongoing training,” he said.
“Foster carers are supported by Berry Street every step of the way.
“They are not doing it alone.”
The children, he said, had often come through very traumatic situations and needed a stable environment.
“Not knowing where they are going makes thing harder,” Mr Chandler said.
“There are so many other issues that need to be address (for the children), including schooling.
“Ideally if you can provide a suitable place for them to live that gives them a chance to start healing.”
He said foster carers could be from a range of different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.
“They could be single, couple, married or in a de facto relationship as well as of any sexual orientation, religion or nationality,” Mr Chandler said.
“They must be over 21 years of age.”
For information call Berry Street Grampians on 5330 5056.