Adelaide mother Nyssa was out walking one day in 2019 asking for a sign.
“I had visited three different foster care services and I was weighing up whether I should become a carer. So, I asked for a sign. Give me a sign!”
The answer nearly bowled her over.
“At that moment, a car drove into the petrol station driveway I was crossing. Any closer and I would have lost a toe! It was an Anglicare car.”
AnglicareSA was one of the services Nyssa had reached out to for more information on fostering.
She signed up soon after.
Nyssa chose to become a ‘specialist carer’. With training and guidance from our foster care support team, Nyssa is among a much-needed group of carers for children in state care with special needs. These needs may be physical, psychological, emotional and/or behavioural and could be due to disability, neglect and/or trauma.
“She is a social butterfly with no boundaries,” said Nyssa of her foster daughter for almost two years.
“I love her smile and the fact that you can take her anywhere and she will have a best friend within five minutes,” she said.
The child, aged under 10, came into state care at a young age and will be called ‘Sarah’ – not her real name – to protect her privacy.
Nyssa was required to leave a full-time job she loved, to care for Sarah around the clock.
Though much improved, Sarah has behavioural and developmental delays – common among children in care. She has numerous allied health and specialist appointments to maintain to keep improving, including physiotherapy and speech therapy.
Nyssa said two things motivate her when times get tough.
The first – her grandmother.
“Watching my grandmother be a mum to nine kids was awesome. For me, she showed me how to love. That’s why I wanted to become a mum – to give my love to someone else just like my grandmother did for me.”
And the second – the positive change that love has had on Sarah.
“I’ve watched my daughter – who was withdrawn and fearful – change into someone who shows love to everyone around her. I’ve seen the impact on her of having a loving, caring family – she has so many people in her life that love her – it definitely changes a child.”
Foster and Kinship Carer Week (11-17 September) is a time for us to acknowledge and celebrate all foster and kinship carers and their families for their contribution to our community.
“We thank all foster and kinship carers for opening their hearts and homes to provide care and support to children and young people in need,” said Nicole Ford, AnglicareSA Senior Manager of Operations for Out of Home Care.
“Carers play such an important role in keeping children and young people safe and giving them opportunities to thrive and succeed in life,” she said.
“So, from the bottom of our hearts – we say – thank you.”
In South Australia, there are 1660 children in foster care and 2337 in kinship care, according to the latest state government figures. This is a 24.5% increase in foster care placements and 49.5% increase in kinship care placements compared to June 2017.
Foster care is provided by approved carers who are recruited, assessed, trained, and supported by non-government service providers, like AnglicareSA.
AnglicareSA is one of South Australia’s largest foster care providers. On any given night, we support up to 390 children in care across 350 foster care families.
For more information on foster care visit our website HERE.