August 10, 2021
Published on Tuesday 1 September, 2020
September is Foster Care Month in NSW, and this year more than ever, Lifestyle Solutions says thank you to our Foster Carers across Australia.
It’s been a tough year for Foster Carers and the children and young people in our care. COVID -19 restrictions have meant the cessation of many hobbies and sports. Many have not been able to socialise, see their friends or travel in the way they had expected. Events such as school plays, excursions, sporting championships and family holidays have been cancelled or postponed.
Perhaps the hardest has been where COVID-19 restrictions have meant young people in our care have not been able to visit with their family of origin. Lifestyle Solutions strives to maintain and enhance family bonds where appropriate, and the restrictions continue to have a profound impact across many families.
Lifestyle Solutions National Business Development Lead, Patrick Wilsmore, said that as a parent of school-aged children, he understood the additional challenges facing our Foster Carers.
“It’s been tough for families. The uncertainty around schooling, especially during the initial lockdown, was challenging for us. Then when my kids were studying from home, there were the problems around technology, communication and keeping them motivated and focused.”
Patrick said the work of Lifestyle Solutions’ Foster Carers this year has been an inspiration for the entire organisation.
“Lifestyle Solutions’ Foster Carers are remarkable people. When you think about what it takes to be a great Foster Carer - compassion, empathy, patience, community mindedness, and then to see their resilience through this period, it’s very impressive. I’m very proud of the work they do and very proud of our teams who support them. While we are always working on ways to better help and support our Foster Carers, today Lifestyle Solutions really just wants to say thank you.”
Jaqueline Machado, Senior Manager, Foster Care and Carer Services, echoed Patrick’s comments.
“Foster Carers really are incredible people. We thank them for the way they give of themselves and how they open their hearts to some of our most vulnerable children and young people. This month is about recognising and celebrating them.”
Jaqueline said that while COVID-19 has added to the challenges for Foster Carers, there is a very real silver lining.
“In many ways there probably has never been a better time to try Fostering. We know a lot of people are reevaluating what’s important to them, how they live their lives, and where they focus their time and energy. We are in immediate need of Foster Carers for respite, short-term and long-term roles. Respite care is a great way to experience being a Foster Carer, as not only are you helping children, you are helping other Foster Carers get a well-earned break. It only takes one caring adult to forever change the life of a child, and it could also be the change you seek in your life as well.”
Lifestyle Solutions will be celebrating Foster Care Month by sharing the personal stories of some of our Foster Carers, so keep an eye on this page.
The latest figures from the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) show that the number of Australian children in care continues to rise with an 18% increase from 2013 to 2017. AIHW reports that, as of 30 June 2017, there were 47,915 Australian children living in out of home care in Australia.