FosterCareKidsFoster Care Week might be over for another year, but for a range of reasons, children in this area are still in need of Foster ‘parents’ prepared to look after them, sometimes for a short amount of time sometimes longer. If you can help call Michelle, the Foster Care Recruitment Officer for Salvation Army GippsCare in Leongatha on 5662 4502 or Anglicare Victoria 5133 9998 which also operates in the South Gippsland and Bass Coast areas.

If you’d like to hear a personal endorsement of the benefits of Foster Care, watch the ‘Featured Video’ clip on the Sentinel-Times home page featuring Bev Briety, the Foster Carer of the Year Award at the recent 2013 Robin Clark Memorial Awards.

Foster care is temporary care of children by trained, assessed and accredited foster carers. Children requiring foster care can be of any age (up to 18 years), and can come from various cultural, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds. Children are placed in foster care for a range of reasons, and foster care can occur as a result of a court order, or through a voluntary arrangement between the child’s parent and a foster care agency. Foster care agencies, also known as community service organisations, are funded by the Department of Human Services to operate ‘foster care programs’, including specialist adolescent and therapeutic programs. Foster care agencies are responsible for supporting foster carers, for meeting the protection and care needs of children in foster care and for working in collaboration with Child Protection and the child’s family to ensure their best interests are met. The role of foster carers and the provision of foster care services are governed in accordance with the objectives, principles and functions of legislation that provides for the protection of all Victorian children; The Children, Youth and Families Act 2005. Foster carers and foster care agencies have a critical role in caring for some of the state’s most vulnerable children.

Learning more about foster care

As a community we rely heavily on volunteer foster carers. The care and support foster carers provide is invaluable and challenges and changes the lives of some of the State’s most vulnerable children. More foster carers are needed, in 2010-11, 3,067 children required a placement in out-of-home care in Victoria. Foster carers are well supported, receive a carer reimbursement and on-going learning opportunities. To find out more about becoming a foster carer, visit the ‘Foster a Brighter Future’ website to complete and submit an online enquiry form, call the foster care hotline toll free on 1800 013 088 or contact a local Foster Care agency.