Family shares flame for fostering

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As a nurse and manager in a sleep disorder clinic and a single parent of three, Kate Palumbo knows about juggling responsibilities. Despite her commitments, Kate has opened her doors to children in need.

"I was very passionate about helping kids, and when I discussed fostering with my children, I discovered they shared the same flame,” she said.

When she found they required a larger home to accommodate foster children, Kate picked up and moved house, now having room for two extras in their family.

“I applied with Fostering NSW who matched me with Challenge Community Services; I could not wait to get started,” Kate said.

Four months after starting the foster process, she received her first respite placement, a 5-year-old boy with special needs who visited fortnightly.

"He taught my children resilience, tolerance, acceptance and unconditional love,” Kate said. “He taught me how much these kids need us and how accepting of a strangers’ love a child can be.”

Since then Kate provided respite for four children, including caring for two 6-year-olds over Christmas, and for the past eight months has provided a short-term placement for a 7-year-old girl. She said the training she had received has not only helped her with foster children but also proven invaluable with her own kids 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.

“Fostering children has taught me more than I could have imagined and opened my heart further than I thought it could expand.”

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. 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.”

Kate’s family share her enthusiasm for fostering and they have also enlisted to become carers.

“My parents are loving making a difference and the training, it makes them feel valuable,” Kate said. “My sister and her family have also since decided they will also do their part and will be processing an application shortly.”

Work flexibility, training, support, and patience have gotten Kate through the difficult times, and she is calling on others to join her in helping children who can’t live at home.

“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.

To join Kate and her family on the fostering journey, enquire here

Article from Maitland Mercury, 8 September 2017.


Author: Katrina Warmoll

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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 disability. 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 880 staff, 95 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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