This week is Foster Care Week, and carers who open their hearts and homes to children in need were celebrated at Walanbaa Gaayili Aboriginal Out-of-Home Care Service on Tuesday. Walanbaa Gaayili co-ordinator, Lyn Cullinane said Foster Care Week was the time for their carers most of whom go above and beyond, to shine.
“Foster Care Week is one of those occasions where the carers can be thanked and acknowledged for the wonderful work that they do, and is a small gesture of appreciation by the NGO's and the department,” Lyn said.
Mary Griffin is the Hunter/ New England regional director of DOCS. She said locally, there was still a pressing need for foster carers as well as emergency and respite carers for the children coming into state care.
“We need families that are willing to consider being foster carers for children that need those families at that particular time in their life,” she said.
“It’s really important that we have families who are willing to take those children and provide them with a stable family home life, and to support them; to keep them safe and to increase their well-being, their education, their medical situation.
“And help them to make sense of why there’re with that family and not their own family. To hopefully promote contact with their family and to keep those links.”
Inverell residents Robert and Janelle Kimmence decided to become foster parents in July 2013. Janelle said it was something she had always wanted to do, and the process of becoming a foster carer was not difficult.
“It was very easy. We’re with Foundations Care. It’s very rewarding. You get a lot of help. They’re on speed-dial; just ring them if you have a problem,” she said.
Janelle said she and Robert have learned about the need in the Inverell area for carers.
“There’s always kids to take. We’ve ended up with four. We had one for 12 months, and then we got two more and then another one; a new baby,” she said.
She said every child has the right to have a good start in life, and Robert agreed.
“You’ve just got to try to give them every chance possible to make it in the world,” he said.