Pathfinders open door to children in need

CHILDREN aged eight and older in Inverell are the most in need when it comes to stable foster families.

Foster Care Support worker Lisa Harvey has been working in with Pathfinders since 2007, and said older children and sibling groups remain high priority for foster placement. 

“There are a lot of carers willing to take the 0-4 age group, but once they get a bit older, there’s the assumption that their behaviours are going to be too challenging, so they don’t want to go there,” she said.

Lisa said there are two support streams when children are placed into homes. 

The children have a case worker that works directly with all the child’s needs and maintains the relationship between the child and their parents.

Foster carers are also supported by people like Lisa, from the moment they begin training. It extends to constant support, ongoing training and a place to debrief.

“It’s my job to make sure the carer’s needs are covered, so I go into their homes or catch up for coffee on a fortnightly basis to make sure they’re going ok, that they don’t need anything practically or emotionally,” Lisa said.

She said Pathfinders will soon launch a carer’s support group where people and meet to exchange their experiences.

Lisa said children do come into homes with challenging behaviours, and they work hard to meet every need of both the carers and children.

“It’s a matter of sticking with them and trying to put all the supports in place so the placement doesn’t break down,” she said.

“The most damaging thing to a child, who’s already traumatized and abused, is to not have a stable placement.

“They’re the ones that are harder to trust adults.”

Lisa said some children find it difficult to trust adults, and sometimes reject assistance because they are used to rejection themselves, and try to get in first.

She said the goal is to stabilise each placement for child and carer to ensure success.

“Hopefully the behaviours will start to ease off a little bit, once they feel they’re not going to be given up on at the first hurdle,” she said.

To learn more about becoming a foster carer or respite carer, phone Pathfinders on 1800 314 199.

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