Foster carers speak out during Families Week to encourage others to foster
To shine a light on Families Week, Brisbane foster carers have shared their stories in the hopes of inspiring others to embark on their own fostering journey.
Key Assets CEO and Families Week ambassador, Rob Ryan says this week is about celebrating the importance of families and recognising that families come in a variety of forms. “Anyone who has a role in caring for children and young people has the opportunity to create a legacy for the future. We all have a responsibility to look out for families and ask a very simple question – is there anything I can do to help?”
“In Queensland, there are more than 8,000 children who are cared for by families who foster and we need carer families now more than ever,” Mr. Ryan says.
“We are looking for people have a genuine love for children, who can provide a safe and stable home environment for them. We’re encouraging people who are patient, caring and understanding, to apply.”
Carers receive training, 24/7 support and a dedicated social worker. An allowance is also provided to cover the costs associated with caring.
Martin Taylor, Oxley
When former accountant, Martin Taylor, became a single foster carer to primary school aged, Jacob* nearly two years ago, his life changed for the better.
“I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a foster carer, to help a child like that. But it is a huge commitment and I wanted to wait until I was ready.”
“Initially, when I told people I was going to become a foster carer, it’s as though they were shocked. After spelling it out, most people realised that there is such a need for foster carers and it’s not actually that important if you’re a single man, woman, gay or straight. Just that you’re capable of providing a safe and loving environment.”
Martin says that seeing Jacob* grow and develop has been the most rewarding experience as a foster carer.
“He’s happier, his literacy has improved, his grades at school have improved, his sporting skills have improved and so have his social skills. I can see he’s in a better place.”
There’s also been an unexpected outcome for Martin socially.
“When you’re an accountant, no one is really interested in your debits and credits or talking about your day,” he said.
“But now people are much more interested in my life so that’s a nice change. No one wants to listen to my life as an accountant, but people want to listen to my story as a foster carer.”
Sarah and Alex Barker, North Lakes
North Lakes couple, Sarah and Alex Barker, have found that fostering 10-year-old Olivia*, three-year-old Jackson* and six-month-old Ava* has been an incredibly rewarding experience.
“I have family members who were foster carers, an aunt and my parents so it has always been part of our family,” Mrs Barker says.
“When I met my husband and we discovered we could not have children we decided to continue on with our plans for a family and be foster carers.”
“We had previously done respite care which was great as we were able to see if fostering was right for us.”
“We do anything that a parent does. It is the most rewarding experience you could possibly do.”
“Many people say the children are lucky to have foster carers, but I think we are lucky to have the children in our lives.
“Seeing the little changes in them can make your day. But it can be exhausting.”
Mrs. Barker says there could be times of uncertainty and it was important for carers to be in contact with their support agency during those times.
“The support from Key Assets is truly exceptional. They have a 24-hour emergency service even if you just need to talk.”
If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, visit www.iwanttofoster.com.au or call Key Assets on 1800 WE CARE.