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Foster Care, Open Adoption and Guardianship

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Foster care, open adoption and guardianship

A local crisis

There are 10,000 children and young people across the Hunter New England Area who the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) have assessed as unable to live with their parents due to concerns for their safety and wellbeing.

There is an overwhelming shortage of foster carers to care for these children and the situation is now at crisis point.

For around 16 local children this means that they are residing in crisis accommodation, with rostered caseworkers and no certainty about their future living arrangements.

CatholicCare and FACS are desperate to get these children out of crisis accommodation and find them a home, where they can feel safe and secure.

Kayden* and Mark* are just two of the local children living in crisis accommodation, can you help them?

Kayden’s story

Kayden is a charming 12-year-old boy with a vivid imagination.  He loves being active and shows interest in all sorts of activities including basketball, soccer, rugby league, skateboarding and bike riding. Spending time with friends is very important to him and he also enjoys his downtime using technology such as his iPad and Playstation.

When Kayden was just 10-years-old, unable to find a carer or live with family, the Department of Family and Community Services placed him in crisis motel accommodation. Kayden has remained living in motel accommodation for the majority of this time (approx. 18 months), but desperately wants to leave and be welcomed by a family who can nurture and guide him.

It is important to understand that Kayden’s time spent in care is not the result of anything he has done, but rather his family’s circumstance. Kayden has a background of complex childhood trauma which has impacted his ability to manage his emotions and makes dealing with stress quite difficult for him.

As a result Kayden’s behaviour draws attention at school and has led to repeated suspensions. Despite this, Kayden wants to be treated equally and be given the chance to work through his behaviour with the correct guidance.

Kayden responds well to a carer who shows genuine and unconditional nurturing. While living in crisis accommodation has been extremely challenging for him he has demonstrated an emerging ability to understand and reflect upon his emotions and behaviour and to build positive relationships.

If you'd like to learn more about how you can help Kayden, or if you're interested in learning more about foster care and open adoption, contact us.

Mark's story

Mark is a 15-year-old boy who lives in the Lower Hunter area. He loves going to school and spending time with his mates, enjoys playing basketball with his local team, drinking coffee and going to the beach. Mark enjoys his independence, has a casual job, likes cooking, does his chores and is always clean and tidy.

Mark is a proud aboriginal and enjoys participating in cultural activities.

Through no fault of his own, unable to find a carer or live with his family, the Department of Family and Community Services has placed Mark in crisis motel accommodation. As resilient as he is, after 6 months in this environment, the uncertainty about his future is starting to take its toll.  Like all of us, Mark has times when he likes his own space and down time. We are looking for a carer for Mark that has time, perseverance, compassion and will support him to reach his goals, and a willingness to foster his cultural identity.

If you'd like to learn more about how you can help Mark, or if you're interested in learning more about foster care and open adoption, contact us.

You won't be alone, CatholicCare is here to help

Our carers are supported to provide optimal care for children- we care about our carers, value their opinions, encourage their learning and respect their need for support. CatholicCare’s emphasis on a family-based approach sets us apart. Ongoing training provided to carers is specifically targeted according to their needs and is CatholicCare’s significant point of difference. As a carer you will also receive an allowance, a dedicated care team, access to 24/7 emergency support and social activities.

Why do children come into care?

Every child deserves a loving, caring home and we need carers who can help ensure that children in the Hunter get just that.

Foster Care is required when children and young people are unable to live with their own families for a variety of reasons.

Our program provides care for children and young people aged 0 to 18 years of age who are unable to live at home with their parents for reasons including:

  • a family crisis
  • parents experiencing difficulties in caring for their children, or
  • there is risk of harm to children.

Matching carers with children

Carers can make choices about the age and gender of the children they wish to care for. We have a particular need for families available to care for groups of brothers and sisters and for older children and young people.

CatholicCare’s Placements team is responsible for finding suitable placement options according to Placement Principles and using the Placement Matching Assessment Tool.

We will only match you with a child if we believe it is in the best interest of the child and the family/ carer they will be joining. We want the placement to succeed and you will be supported by a care team, training and with an allowance and access to support groups, resources and social activities.

To find out more about requirements to become a carer, please click here.

Types of care, it all counts!

How long a child stays with a carer is determined on a case-by-case basis.  A child can be placed in your care for a night, a week, several months or until they are ready to become an independent adult.

Carers are encouraged to choose the type of care that fits in with their life, the four types of Foster Care include immediate, respite, restoration and guardianship/ open adoption.

To learn more about becoming a foster carer or to find out about open adoption, please contact us using the form below

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