FOR the past seven months, Lyn and Roy have celebrated every positive in their foster child’s life.
“Her first steps, her first words, her first teeth,” Lyn said of the many highlights, “as well as being able to meet and talk to her mum, and her brothers and sisters.”
It is this ability to have contact with their foster child’s birth family that motivated the couple to join Centacare’s Specialist Family Preservation Foster Care Program.
The program offers well supported short-term placements for children aged 0-12 years while they are unable to live at home to prepare them, where possible, for reunification with their families.
Lyn and Roy fostered two children through different programs before turning to Centacare.
The Centacare approach promotes contact between carers and birth families to help support children in a safe environment.
“In the past, we met a mother of a foster child we had and were told we could only stand on the footpath; we weren’t to step inside the gate, she was told she couldn’t step outside the gate, and we were to keep the conversation to the weather,” Lyn said.
“That is where Centacare is just so different in that you can talk to the mum and that stops a lot of confusion and misinterpretation.
“These children, regardless of what’s happened to them in the past, still want to see family and Centacare offers that in a very safe environment.”
Centacare has approved 10 foster households but a total of 22 are needed before the year’s end for the program which has reunited six children with their families over the past 14 months.
Manager Clare Smith said the extensive assessment process took between six to nine months to complete.
Foster carers receive regular on-call contact and high levels of support from Centacare, as well as a competitive allowance and access to ongoing education, training and development.
“We’re part of a bigger picture,” Clare said.
“Our role is to get a child in the best possible place to make that transition, either back home or into long-term care. When you have a team focussing on the child, a team focussing on the parent and a case manager overseeing everyone working together, that’s when you get a good outcome.”
To find out more about Centacare’s Specialist Family Preservation Foster Care Program, come along to our next information session on Thursday, June 25, from 6.30pm-8.30pm, at 413 Grange Rd, Seaton. To register, contact 8159 1400, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit fostercare.centacare.org.au