By PSS | Posted: Sunday March 5, 2017
As we look to mark Foster Care Awareness Week, Family Works is still facing huge demand for foster families to open their homes to children and young people.
Family Works Foster Care Co-ordinator Maree Sellars says
before joining Family Works she had no idea of the huge demand there was for
foster care in Southland.
Quite simply, she was startled by the need.
“It’s more than you would ever want to know about – so many children and young people in our community are in need of foster care,” she says.
The agency hopes Foster Care Awareness Week, which runs March 6 to 12, will not only heighten community awareness of the need for more foster carers, but will encourage people to put their hand up to help.
“The carers we do have are extraordinary…they’re extraordinary people doing ordinary things in some ways,” Maree says.
“We’re not looking for perfect families, just people who care and have the heart.”
“We’re looking for a willingness to be open and non-judgemental of children, young people and families they have come from; a willingness to give a child or young person a safe place in their home and offer patience and acceptance.”
“It’s about seeing children as children. They may be going through a tough time in their lives, and just need somewhere to be while their family works on issues.”
This week Family Works will acknowledge the foster carers they work with, with a dinner at Peacehaven Village. The dinner is a chance to thank and acknowledge all that foster carers do to support children and young people, and an opportunity for them to connect.
Care in Southland
There are 34 foster families working with Family Works to open their homes to children and young people in need, but the demand far outweighs that.
Placements can be both rural and town-based; however if the placement is for a longer period and during weekdays, it is preferred that the child can stay at school, which is often the one constant in their lives.
Rural placements are also often very valuable as it gives the child a different experience.
There is a high demand for foster carers across all ages and care types, however in particular for young teenagers.
Different types of care
Foster Care needn’t be a lifetime commitment – opening your home to a child or young person in need for even just a short time can make a hugely positive difference in their life, and in your own.
Emergency care, respite care (which may be regular, for example a weekend a month, or for a short period of time), short-term or long-term are all care options.
Regardless of what you can offer, Family Works will support you from the very start, with ongoing training, support, advice, advocacy and connection.
Find Out More
CLICK HERE to find out more about Foster Care, including contact details.