With NSW Foster Care Week upon us, Central Coast residents are being encouraged to consider whether they have what it takes to foster a child.
CatholicCare’s General Manager for Permanency Support Program, Sean Cashin, said at any given time, there were dozens of children across the Central Coast who require foster care.
He said CatholicCare works tirelessly to ensure that children and teens from the Central Coast entering care land in safe homes.
But to do that, the organisation needs more families to get on board.
“Consider this scenario: A 12-year-old girl wakes in the night to shouting and the sounds of violence,” he said.
“She comforts her younger brother who is trembling at the foot of his bed, tucking him back under his blankets before swallowing her fear and leaving the faux safety of her bedroom in search of her mother.
“She finds her, bruised and weeping on the kitchen floor, a victim of domestic violence.
“While she is doing her best to help her mother, Police and Child Protection Workers enter the house and she is taken to an emergency carer’s house with her brother.
“Unbeknownst to her, this will be the last she sees of her mother for two years.
“This scenario describes a typical entry of a child into the Statutory Out of Home Care system.
“These children and young people are more likely to end up in the youth justice system and have far poorer education and health outcomes.
“They’re also more likely to enter a cycle of social disadvantage that is difficult to escape.”
Cashin said the need for foster carers on the Coast was acute.
“We are looking for everyday families who might consider taking a child or young person into their home, to love and support them, whether for one or two nights, a few weeks, months or long-term.
“Is this easy? No.
“Caring for those in need requires you to give of yourself but CatholicCare will be there with you each step of the way.”
The latest data from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare’s 2020 National Framework for Protecting Australia’s Children indicating that there are currently more than 17,000 children aged 0-17 in out of home care and CatholicCare is urging locals to reach out to learn more about what’s involved in fostering a child.
NSW Foster Care Week runs from September 13-19.