MORE than 6500 children in Victoria are placed in out of home care on any given night.
That’s 5.2 out of every 1000 children living in out of home care (OOHC) across the state, with Gippsland having one of the highest rates of children and young people in OOHC across Victoria according to The Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children Inquiry.
Victoria needs at least 300 new foster carers every year to meet the current demand for foster care placements.
Jane (name has been changed) is a new foster carer with SalvoCare Eastern-Gippsland based in Leongatha.
They recruit foster carers from Bass Coast, South Gippsland, Baw Baw, Latrobe and Cardinia areas.
Jane has been a foster carer for two months, and has not looked back since becoming an accredited foster carer, caring for toddlers to young adolescents for respite and short term emergency care.
“I like kids and I was interested enough to take the first step. Kids are important. We need to get it right with kids so they become healthy adults.”
Jane said that for her, one of the most rewarding things about being a foster carer has been when the children begin to trust her, or when they ask if they can come back again.
“It also gives me a warm nurturing feeling to know that they are safe and warm and tucked up in bed.”
The need for foster carers in South Gippsland and Bass Coast is growing as there are not nearly enough foster carers in the region.
There are many types of fostering ranging from looking after a child for a night or two when you can, or on the odd weekend.
Full time care is also needed for some children and young people who need a full time home for a few months, or even up to a few years.
Whilst full time foster care may not suit all lifestyles, Jane encourages people to consider applying for part time, emergency or respite care.
“You have to be ready to open up your house, and yourself, to some extent, but give it a thought.
“Try it; it’s really rewarding. Caring has opened up a whole new life for me.”
Jane also added that she has felt supported whilst being a new foster carer with SalvoCare Eastern- Gippsland.
“I have never felt like I am on my own with it, as there has been a good level of support. Backup is always there with the home based care team.”
To find out more about being a foster carer, contact Michelle or Melissa at SalvoCare Eastern–Gippsland on 5662 6400, or go to Facebook and search SalvoCare EasternFoster Care. It may be the best thing that you ever do!