Rewards in foster caring

By Jewell Drury

Children and young people require fostering for all kinds of reasons. Abuse or neglect due to family violence, domestic violence, addictions and mental health issues, all impact on a family’s capacity to care for their child safely.

Key Assets is a non-government, not-for-profit foster care agency, providing foster care for children and young people. They believe in a team approach to fostering and work alongside their foster carers and local departments to provide care that makes a real difference.

When Julie made the decision to become a foster carer, she had no idea how much it would change her life. Julie is in her early 30’s, single and grew up in Port Stephens. Approximately five years ago, Julie began caring for her niece through ‘kinship’ fostering with Key Assets. Following this, a 10 year old boy also became a part of Julie’s family seven months ago.

Her daily mantras include, “Today is a new day” and “I am here, I listen and I support you!”

Julie found that no one had really taken the time to listen to or support the young man currently in her care. Recently he wanted to play an inappropriate X Box game. To validate that he had “been heard”, Julie took him to the local EB Games store to enquire about the game he wanted to play. The  salesperson explained that it wasn’t age appropriate and the reasons why. That was enough for the young man and nothing was mentioned again.

Julie has seen such a difference in his life over the last few months. With school life previously involving a constant round of suspensions, detentions and numerous visits to the ‘planning room’, things were challenging for him. However, since being in the care of Julie, there is no sign of the behaviour that led to these consequences and school life has improved immensely.

“Realising how far he has come, helps me through my hard days,” said Julie.

Julie’s experience caring for her niece has proven equally rewarding.

“I am so honoured to be able to raise my beautiful niece and so proud of the young woman she is becoming,” Julie smiles as she speaks.

The teenager attends school full-time and works four days a week. With the money she is saving, she will fly to the USA on a school excursion next year.

Both children have a great network of friends and Julie hopes that they will progress through school to university.

“ I want them to have an amazing life full of adventures along with happy, healthy, loving relationships with their family and friends,” Julie shared.

Today, foster care organisations such as Key Assets understand the huge importance of birth parents and family being a part of the lives of foster children.

Having built a wonderful relationship with both children’s families, Julie arranges regular visitations from their birth families and grandparents.

“I keep in contact with regular updates and photos and they also get invited to school events like grandparent’s day. They also call and speak with the children, which is really positive. I do this because I feel comfortable doing it, although the agency does not expect myself or any other carer to do anything they feel uncomfortable with. It’s amazing and takes the pressure off us as carers,” Julie continued.

“You don’t have to make a life time commitment to foster care, you only need to want to help. Whether it’s for respite, emergency, short term or long term, it’s fulfilling to provide a home these children can relax in and be kids again,” Julie said.

“I would honestly never change how my life has turned out and to show these children that they are a priority and for them to know I have their back, is so rewarding.”

 

Become a foster carer

Children in your community need a safe and caring home. You will be provided with on-going 24/7 support and a dedicated social worker.

Contact us today on 1800 WE CARE