When she was 17, Jemima Christie’s mum opened her heart and home to children who could not live with their families.
Having lived in a stable family home, her eyes were opened to the poor conditions that some children faced which resulted in them being removed from their families.
And she saw the difference that love and stability could make in their lives.
A few years later, as a single woman and uni student in her early 20s, Ms Christie decided to become a foster carer with CAFS.
“Mum had foster children on respite from when I was about 17, and has had children ongoing since then so that played quite a big part in my desire to become a foster carer.
“I saw how well they fit in to the family and the impact it had on our family – it made us a family who didn’t take things for granted so much.”
Ms Christie finds offering respite for families and other carers best suits her lifestyle, but in the past she has cared for children for up to six months.
“I’m quite passionate about children in care and part of the reason I started doing foster care was the opportunity to do something on the weekend, to spend some time with some really awesome kids, and to give something back to the community,” she said.
Although happy to care for children of any age, Ms Christie has mainly looked after children aged 10 to 14 including a group of four siblings.
”Respite care can be anywhere from a night to a couple of weeks depending on the placement.”
The training and experience have allowed Ms Christie to learn much about herself as well as the best way to help the children in her care.
“I’ve learned I probably have more patience than I thought, and that I don’t panic in certain situations where I wasn’t sure what my response would be,” she said.
“There are some really trying times but I guess it’s about seeing the outcome and seeing the change in kids.”
Her early experiences also inspired Ms Christie to become a social worker with CAFS, and her partner has joined her in becoming a foster parent.
The Courier and CAFS will host a Facebook Live event at 12.30pm Wednesday where current foster carers will answer your questions about foster care. Ask your questions via the online link or The Courier Facebook page.