Anglicare SA

Real Life Heroes!

Jenni and Gary's Story Jenni and Gary have been emergency, short term, long term and respite careers for four years. They say  "We love children and felt...

Jenni and Gary’s Story

Jenni and Gary have been emergency, short term, long term and respite careers for four years.

They say  “We love children and felt compelled to do something to help those who desperately needed it”

“Fostering has had a huge impact on our lives. Not only have we been blessed to get to know 9 beautiful children, we have been able to welcome them into our home and family and give them stability and love when they needed it most. We now see these children as part of our family and always will. It hasn’t always been easy, but we wouldn’t trade it for anything else!”

Instead of having to worry about their basic needs being met or not, they have been able to not only have physical needs met but to thrive to the point where they can play and sing and dance and dress up and live and love and just enjoy being a child and growing into who they were created to be without worrying about anything else. We aim to provide the safe haven they need, and it comes complete with 4 adoring “siblings” ready to shower on the attention!

They say there are so many benefits to being a foster carer – the love you get in return, seeing them begin to heal, knowing you are making a difference in someone’s life, watching them make milestones, nurturing them, just having the privilege of being the one they can go to, and seeing our biological children loving them just as much and learning and growing through the whole experience.

They encourage others to become carers. Yes it can be tough but the rewards far outweigh the challenges. These children need loving homes and families, the alternative for them is too devastating for good people to sit back and say it’s too hard.

They  thank Anglicare and particularly the amazing group of support workers in the south. They say ‘They have made our fostering experience all the more rich and their support has been invaluable. It is wonderful to work with a team of professionals so committed to the welfare of vulnerable children in our State who care just as much for the children as we do.”

 

Alex and Greg’s Story

Alex moved in with his partner who was already a long term foster carer. After a little while they decided that he too would become a foster carer.
When Alex started exploring options he found there was a huge support network and training provided to become a carer that removed any daunting aspect to the process and the idea of fostering.

Alex feels that he’s made a home in Adelaide and that having a family has solidified this. He feels part of a family and feels satisfied that there’s extra support if things begin to feel overwhelming.

Alex would recommend making an enquiry to AnglicareSA if  you are interested in becoming a carer. They will explain the whole process and allow you to see that you will have all the support and training you could need.

 

John’s Story

John has been fostering on his own now for 13 years and for two years prior to that with his former wife.  His preference is for offering long term care but has also taken emergency placements, respite placements and short term placements when circumstances allow.

He became a foster carer  initially with his former wife.  She was a foster child herself and wanted to offer other children the benefits that she had received.  He had found that so rewarding that he continued to foster when he was on his own.

With a home to offer and a supportive family network, John felt he had the capacity to give children in care the love and nurture that they need.  He emphasizes that he and his family embrace the  children that come to his home as full members of the family. He remembers his first two placements.  They were children with disabilities and they still maintain a connection.

John states with some passion that foster caring is “The best thing I’ve ever done.” he describes the joy he gets from meeting the childrens’ particular needs and he lists their many “little achievements” that are so significant for them and so rewarding for him.  He mentioned things like watching them have new experiences, helping them with homework and being there when they reach their individual milestones.

At one point John had an accident that prevented him from pursuing further employment.  Losing his usual occupation and needing to redirect his energies, John was glad to be able to find a sense of purpose in his fostering.   He also believes fostering has been an improvement for his family.   So significant was the experience of fostering for his daughters that it has influenced their career choices. One daughter is working with people with disabilities and the other has worked in day care and out of school hours care at the local school.

While he acknowledges that there are many tough aspects of foster caring, John  puts the challenges in the wider context of providing a loving environment unconditionally.  John finds huge satisfaction in honouring that commitment.  The ongoing connection that past foster children maintain and the network that provides is a real joy for John.

John feels quite humbled by the close connection that most of the children he has cared for have maintained with him.  They acknowledge openly and often,  that John has given them the nurturing home that they would not otherwise have had.  John commented that with only a few exceptions the children that have been with him have left with  a positive attitude to life and have gone on to make good life choices.

John also sees that wherever it has been possible, he has assisted the children in his care to establish connection with their birth families so that they have a basis for an ongoing relationship.

Without hesitation John said that the best thing about being a foster carer is the love he receives back from the children.  This he recognises and cherishes in the simple day to day  interactions, the things that they can take for granted and that indicate they feel safe and secure with him.

When asked what he would say to anyone who was considering becoming a foster carer, John suggested  to “find out as much a you can so that you are well informed.  Take your time, there is no rush, it is a big undertaking and not for everybody but , when the circumstances are right, do it.” John said that  for him it has been the most rewarding thing in his life.

John concluded  about foster care that “ It has changed my life for the better.”  and added that now he has a large and caring extended family.

Helping families is all of our business

As a foster child, adoptee, kinship carer, parent and newly-minted grandparent, AnglicareSA CEO The Reverend Peter Sandeman says protecting children and helping...

As a foster child, adoptee, kinship carer, parent and newly-minted grandparent, AnglicareSA CEO The Reverend Peter Sandeman says protecting children and helping families is all of our business in an article published in The Advertiser.

The recent tragic examples of child abuse and neglect have reminded us all just how vulnerable children are and the importance of good parenting.

All families need help from time to time. As a foster child, adoptee, kinship carer, parent and newly-minted grandparent, I’ve certainly appreciated great support along the way. A good family is a great gift but it’s hard graft at times.

Sometimes as friends, family, neighbours and workers, we fail to notice the signs and sometimes we don’t think it’s our business to interfere.

Protecting children and supporting families struggling to cope is all of our business, and that’s why the integrity of the child protection system is so important and why we have all been shocked and worried about recent events.

But it’s not just an issue for Families SA; they simply can’t be everywhere at once. Protective support systems begin with all of us. The death of a child through abuse or neglect is a collective failure of the whole community.

In prioritising those families that need help and children in danger, Families SA relies on the quality and frequency of our reports. We must help them make more informed interventions by being better at making those difficult phone calls, even if we’re not completely sure.

In some of the cases I am aware of, Families SA has attempted to both support the family to function better, and determine whether the child should be removed.

These functions are clearly incompatible, as the family needing support will not easily trust workers from the agency that has the power to remove their child.

The key focus of Families SA has to be the capacity to make the right call about removing or returning a child.

And when a child has to be removed from their biological family, we need to support those wonderful people who open their homes as foster and kinship carers.

Ensuring more permanent placement of children – once it is clear removal is required and reunion is not an option – is absolutely critical to enabling these children to flourish.

We need more carers and better support systems to allow them to exercise the same parental rights and responsibilities as biological families.

AnglicareSA is privileged to support about 400 carers, and their role needs to be clarified, as well as better recognised, for the great contribution that they make.

We need to improve our family support and child protection functions, and the Select Committee and the Royal Commission may just be the circuit-breakers required to halt the usual political pattern of attack and defence; to have the deep conversation to enable a fundamental recasting of the way we work together as a community to support families and protect children.

Celebrate Foster & Kinship Care Week 2014

Have you ever thought of being a Foster Carer? Join us on our open day on Tuesday August 19th at 4-8 Angas St, Kent Town. Drop in any time between 9am to 5pm, or...

Have you ever thought of being a Foster Carer?

Join us on our open day on Tuesday August 19th at 4-8 Angas St, Kent Town. Drop in any time between 9am to 5pm, or enjoy a light lunch and a formal presentation with a talk from a registered foster carer from noon to 2pm.

Foster Carers can be single, couples, people at home, working full-time, part-time or studying. Free training and ongoing professional support (including 24-hour assistance) is provided.

 

For more information visit: http://anglicaresa.com.au/foster-care/

Supporting foster care families

AnglicareSA CEO The Reverend Peter Sandeman provided insight into the vital role of foster carers in a column in The Advertiser. If anyone understands the importance...

AnglicareSA CEO The Reverend Peter Sandeman provided insight into the vital role of foster carers in a column in The Advertiser.

If anyone understands the importance of foster carers, it’s me and my twin brother. We were fostered by a couple when we were one-year-old. That couple went on to adopt us, becoming our mum and dad for life, and we were lucky enough to grow up in a stable, supportive home with three brothers and sisters.

Not all foster children and foster families are as lucky as we were.

And when it comes to the death of a child there are only losers.

That’s the case of little Finn, his birth family and the Perrett family.

Every night in South Australia there are about 2600 children under the Guardianship of the Minister. AnglicareSA supports up to 500 of those children – most live with 400 foster families supported by AnglicareSA staff. Other children and young people live in residential homes where they are supported by our staff.

We recognise that if a child is unable to live with their birth family, or a relative, then living in a stable home where they can experience security, care and love is the best outcome for them.

Being a foster carer is taking an opportunity to change a child’s life forever. If parenting is one of the hardest jobs in the world, then being a foster carer has an extra level of difficulty.

The children and young people they welcome into their homes may have experienced extremely traumatic situations, including abuse and neglect. They may have behavioural problems, health issues, disability or psychological trauma. Those children and young people may need extensive help and support, with appointments for counselling, medical appointments and consistent care and reassurance.

Foster families come under more scrutiny and are held to higher standards than biological families.

Foster carers understand that they will frequently be working together with social workers and support staff to reunite the children in their care with birth families whenever it is possible.

We need to remember that, in many cases, parents whose children are removed from them are devastated. It’s not that they don’t want their children, it’s that, for a number of reasons, they are unable to care for them. Many parents work extremely hard to better themselves and their situations in the hope of being reunited with their children.

So, imagine having your child removed from you in life and then losing them forever in death. Imagine being a foster carer when a foster child dies. Both families will be grief-stricken.

There are no simple answers in an incredibly sad situation like this.

As a community, the best thing we can do is to support people from before the time they have children. We want them to have strong relationships, find meaningful work, have a full family life and to be actively involved in the community in which they live.

As most of us learn how to parent by the way we ourselves were raised, we need to identify parents who are struggling and support them to adopt better ways of raising their children, breaking that cycle of ignorance, neglect or abuse.

When children are unable to live with their birth parents, foster carers are vital. We need to do more to support the foster families we have and to recognise their important role in raising children and young people. Where there is no chance of reunion with the birth family, permanency of placement will increase the security of the foster child and the wellbeing of the family.

Foster carers currently receive a small allowance which rarely covers the expense of a child or young person joining their family. Decisions about the child’s health and welfare are frequently made by social workers. I would like to see monetary allowances increased for foster families and for foster carers to receive more authority, better reflecting what happens in the “average” family.

Finally, we need to encourage new carers to “join the foster care family”. Our foster families need to reflect the diverse community we are. We welcome foster carers from all walks of life – single, in a couple, with children or without, empty nesters, gay, straight, working full time or studying.

My heart breaks for the Perretts, for everyone involved in little Finn’s short life, and for everyone who experiences the loss of a child. There is no single right answer when it comes to raising families but together, as a community, we can create brighter futures for children.

 

We need Foster Carers

The need for more Foster Families is reaching out to YouTube viewers with a ‘claymation’ animated ad... Foster Families campaign Here is a short ad promoting...

The need for more Foster Families is reaching out to YouTube viewers with a ‘claymation’ animated ad…

Foster Families campaign

Here is a short ad promoting the need for Foster Carers. Join us in seeking more good families to provide support for children in your community. Send a link to this ad by email to someone you know may be interested. For more information call 8131 3456 or visit our Foster Care webpage.