Caring comes in all shapes

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Deciding you would make a good foster parent is easy; actually making the required adjustments to your family life is another matter.

As a nurse and manager in a sleep disorder clinic and a single parent of three, Kate knows what it’s like to juggle commitments.

After discussing her desire to foster with her family, she realised that they all shared the same passion. So when she found out she needed a bigger home to accommodate foster children, Kate picked up and moved.

For Kate, the decision to move was easy. She knew she wanted to be a foster parent and now has enough room for two extras in her family. “When people say to me ‘I don’t know how you do it,' I respond with ‘I don’t understand how you think you can’t!” Kate said.

Foster carers are needed for a variety of care situations, and new changes to government legislation means there are more options for foster carers to provide permanency for children who can’t live with their birth parents.

Emergency Care: This is care that is required at short notice, at any time of the day or night. Emergency care is usually limited to a few days up to a few weeks. FACS is legally responsible for the child’s care.

Respite Care: This type of care allows full-time carers and foster children to take a break. Respite is usually provided for short periods on a regular, ongoing basis, such as a weekend once a month. FACS is legally responsible for the child or young person.

Short Term Care: When you provide short term care, you care for the child’s day-to-day needs full-time for a short timeframe. This could be a few weeks or a few months, depending on the child or young person’s needs. FACS is legally responsible for the child’s care.

Long Term Care: This type of care is provided for an indefinite period when a child or young person is unable to return home in the near future. This care is provided on a full-time basis and carers are responsible for the day-to-day needs of the child. FACS is legally responsible for the child or young person. 

Guardianship: When you become a guardian, you take on all parental rights and responsibility for all aspects of a child’s welfare, without the guidance of FACS.

Open Adoption: In open adoption, you take on all legal rights and responsibilities for the child while maintaining connections with the birth family, where possible to do so. You can find more information about guardianship and open adoption in the ebook, Fostering for Permanency.

While caring for vulnerable children may be daunting, your foster care agency, such as Challenge Community Services, will provide support throughout your fostering journey. Kate said the training she received not only helps with foster children but has also proven invaluable with her own children and in her workplace.

“I have taken up every bit of training both Challenge and Connecting Carers has to offer,” Kate said. “It is almost worth becoming a carer just to have access to this training; I cannot speak highly enough of it.”

Kate said she loves foster caring and intends to do it for a long time to come.

“These kids are our country’s future, and they didn’t choose to be where they are,” she said. “We can help, but we need more carers to look after these kids while other agencies work to help their parents. This is such a vital journey for us to be involved in.”

Challenge has created a new ebook to help foster carers and those interested in the guardianship and open adoption process. For more information download the ebook:

CTA Foster Permanency 01

Author: Challenge Community Services

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About Challenge Community Services

Over 60 years ago we were a small band of parents and friends seeking support services for our children with disabilities. Today, Challenge has grown to be one of the largest community support services in New South Wales. We provide support to over 2500 people from Albury to Lismore, Sydney, Dubbo, Tamworth and beyond. With over 700 staff, 85 of which have a disability, we strive to comply with and exceed all standards required under State and Federal Acts.
In the spirit of Reconciliation, Challenge Community Services acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples as the Traditional Owners and Custodians of this country, and their connection to land, water and community. We pay our respect to them, their cultures and customs, and to Elders both past and present.
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