Cafs is proud to be celebrating Foster Care Week this year. Foster Care Week is about raising awareness around the vital importance of foster care in our community while recognising the invaluable contribution from existing foster carers.
More now than ever the ongoing impact of COVID-19 is present in our everyday lives. Data shared by Fostering Connections demonstrates that when an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs, enquiries from foster carers drop. Therefore, Cafs is on the lookout for caring, nurturing individuals who are able to provide a safe home for young people in need.
"Foster carers provide an essential service for children who are unable to stay in their family home," said Cafs CEO Wendy Sturgess.
Foster carers build relationships with, and nurture and care for foster children, helping them with their practical and emotional needs by creating an environment where they can commence healing from their trauma. Being a foster carer doesn't have to be a full-time commitment - you can choose the level of care that fits with you and your family.
"This financial year, Cafs' foster carers cared for 79 children through this program in either ongoing or emergency placements," said Sturgess. "We had 99 enquiries from families to become foster carers and we recruited 11 new foster carers this year."
"Foster carers come from many different backgrounds," said Tracey Savage, Cafs manager of home based care. "They can be single, or have a partner, have no children or have children of their own. They can rent or own their home, work, study or be retired and can be from any culture, religion or sexual orientation. If you can provide a safe and nurturing home for a child; we want to hear from you."
To mark this very special week, Cafs has launched an online six part video-series, detailing stories and insights from existing Cafs foster carers, who have opened up their hearts and the homes for children in need. This video series aims to educate those in the community who are considering foster care, by debunking any myths and sharing real experiences of what to expect when becoming a foster carer.
"Cafs is excited to be sharing with you all what the foster care experience is like from the point of view of a Cafs foster carer," said Sturgess. "We hope that by sharing this first-hand experience, there may be more members from the community that will be willing to take the first step in becoming a Foster Carer.
"Cafs case managers and practitioners are just beautiful, they've always got your back," said Cafs foster carer Lee Van Leeuwen. "Especially during COVID, they're always phoning to ask, are you ok? Do you need anything? They're wonderful people."
Launched on September 12, this video-series is free to view, and can be accessed at cafs.org, the Cafs Facebook page and via Cafs' YouTube channel.
Our community can make a life changing difference to a child by becoming a foster carer. There is a real need for carers in our local community. Cafs is here to support anyone in their foster care journey. The first step is only a phone call away.