September was Foster Care Month in NSW. The aim of Foster Care Month is to raise awareness around foster care in the wider community. It is about promoting the great work done by care service providers, such as KARI.
It is also a time to highlight the ongoing need for the recruitment for foster carers, and in KARI’s case, Aboriginal foster carers.
So why are Aboriginal carers needed?
Our most recent statistics indicate that in NSW alone there are 22,468 children and young people in out-of-home care placements. This means that they have either been placed within a kinship placement or that they have been placed with a carer that they have most likely had no connection with.
Out of these 22,468 children and young people, 7,264 (32.33%) are Indigenous. This percentage highlights the shocking statistic that approximately one third of children and young people in care in NSW are Aboriginal.
“It’s so important to place Aboriginal children with Aboriginal carers,” said Denis Thorne, Recruitment & Assessment Coordinator, KARI. “Aboriginal carers play a vital role in maintaining culture, connection with land or cultural area, family and cultural identity.”
We need carers for a number of different types of care
A child may require a carer for one weekend per month or for a week of the school holidays. A respite placement is considered to be between two and 28 days.
A placement may be required for any length of time from one month to two years. This type of placement is generally dependent on the court system and whether restoration to birth family or kinship placement is an option.
A long-term placement is required when Family and Community Services have assessed all family options and feel that it is in the child’s best interest to remain in care up until the age of 18.
We wouldn’t be able to do work we do, providing our children and young people in care with safe, caring homes without the dedication and commitment of our carers however, the need for carers continues to rise.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a carer contact our Carer Recruitment team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Charlotte Long