Someone Else’s Child

February 24, 2009 at 3:49 pm | Posted in About Fostering, Media, Stories | Leave a comment

Life Matters on Radio National has been running a series called “Someone Else’s Child’, which follows up from last year’s series interviewing young boys in foster care, “Life in Foster Care”.

In comparison to the types of interviews Life Matters has been doing, this one is from quite a different perspective. Rather than looking the big systemic issues or other ways of caring for children who have experienced trauma, these interviews with carers on the ground are very real, honest and compassionate.

Be sure to have a listen over the next few days (part 1, part 2, part 3 and part 4.) Please note that Part 4 is an interview with what we in Victoria call a Kinship carer rather than a foster carer as the others were.

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Foster Children have an audience with MP Bill Shorten

February 18, 2009 at 10:30 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles, Issues for Fostering, Links, Media | Leave a comment

Following the recent Youth Summit a number of young people in and formerly in foster care from around Australia had a meeting with Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children’s Services, Bill Shorten. One of those who attended was Ivan from Tasmania who spoke to Life Matters this morning.

His main points of concern were a lack of case-planning consultation with children and young people themselves, and the difficulties faced by young people upon turning 18 who find their entire network (foster carers, case workers etc) are no longer available to them. He talked about needing more life-skills in preparation for leaving care.

These points were backed up by Jacqui Reed, CEO of the CREATE Foundation, a strong advocate and support network for children and young people in and recently in care. Jacqui also spoke of the need to nationalise some of the systems and supports for foster care, especially looking at the rate of reimbursement which she suggested should be modelled on economic terms such as the cost to raise a child, and the age at which a young person leaves care.

Apart from legislation changes which may be needed to support such needs, I am aware that many agencies in Victoria are working towards meeting some of the needs for young people to feel prepared to live independently once they turn 18. One example is the Adolescent Community Placement program (ACP) which focuses on transfering life skills such as budgeting, cooking, education, employment, housing and many others. I know there are many other programs also achieving this through a variety of ways, whether its through supporting carers to teach these skills, or through specific camps and other activities.

Ivan also mentioned difficulties in getting his drivers licence, which is another major challenge for us, not just because of lack of documents but also due to legislation requirements of 120 Learner hours to be able to sit the test. This is difficult to achieve given that carers are not allowed to supervise learner drivers, although I believe there are some solutions currently being worked on.

Congratulations and all our support goes out to all those who are participating in the consultations with Bill Shorten, let hope there are some positive results from the efforts of all those involved.

Anglicare Victoria’s Bushfire Response

February 17, 2009 at 1:01 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Anglicare Victoria is the state’s largest provider of foster care. In addition, it’s other programs working towards supporting families and building communities are diverse and varied. Anglicare Victoria is active in the emergency response and recovery efforts resulting from the Victorian bushfire tragedy. For updates keep an eye on the Anglicare Victoria blog.

Labour of Love

February 17, 2009 at 12:52 pm | Posted in Articles, Links, Media | Leave a comment

The article referred to in yesterday’s post has made it’s way onto the Australian newspaper’s website. Again, it’s well worth the read.

Foster Care: “ultimate form of ultruism”

February 16, 2009 at 10:13 am | Posted in About Fostering, Articles, Media, Stories | 1 Comment

A fantastic article appeared in the Weekend Magazine of the Australian newspaper, (14-15/02/09, pages12-16: Victoria Laurie) profiling carers Dave and Kerry Stevens who care for “Mikey” and interviewing (among others) Ray Cleary and Mariela Diaz of Anglicare Victoria about foster care.

Although I’m unable to link to the article online I thought I would share this quote from the article.

“In both of them, one senses a degree of pride in their “extra” son, a boy who did nothing wrong and never asked to be given that awful sentence: “you may never go home.”
we’ve had to watch him being knocked back so often by his real mother,” says Dave. “weekend visits that don’t eventuate, being let down over things promised. There’s tear every time. We say to him, ‘It’s not fair what have have to go through.’ But we try to give him hooks and handles to deal with the feeling, and reinforce the good that is there.

“At the end of the day, we will never replace his mum. We will love Mikey and we will care for him, but he would still always want his natural mum. If he can come out of this loving her, wherever she’s at, then that’s something.” 

The rest of the article follows the ongoing debate about professionalising care-giving with comparisons to International systems such as the UK, group homes and kinship care (care by relatives), each with their unique set of complications. It also looks at more efficient movement to permanent care as a way to attract more carers, however I did feel while reading this section that we need to be careful not to change the system to suit the needof prospective carers to have a child of their own at the cost of blurring the needs of children.  

This article is well worth a read if you can get hold of a copy.

Friends on Facebook

February 13, 2009 at 11:56 am | Posted in Links, Media, Resources | Leave a comment

The new Friends of Foster Care program is now on facebook. You can become a fan to receive updates on the program and up and coming events. You can also join the cause to “support Friends of Foster Care” and spread the word among you friends and family and other people who might be interested in getting involved.

Healing Trauma: Therapeutic foster care

February 11, 2009 at 3:46 pm | Posted in Articles, Links, Resources | 1 Comment

There is a wealth of articles from Dr Bruce Perry on the Child Trauma Academy website. In particular there is a sectiondevoted to carers which is definitely well worth reading including this document, Helping Traumatized Children.

This is especially relevant at this time not just for children in care but, given the terror we have all witnessed in our state with the bushfires, it could be an important resource for discussing issues with children from affected regions.

This article reports up-to-date expert advice for parents and professionals who are speaking to children about the bushfires.

Information sessions: Last minute reminder!

February 11, 2009 at 10:14 am | Posted in Coming Events, Events | Leave a comment

A reminder that an information evening is being held tonight in Mount Waverly a tomorrow (12th) in Blackburn South. Experienced staff will be available to answer all your questions and current carers will also be present to give insight to what it’s like to be a foster carer.

Obesity and Child Protection

February 6, 2009 at 11:56 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Medical Journal of Australia has posed the question: When does severe childhood obesity become a child protection issue?

Obviously childhood obesity is of growing concern but this is the first I’ve heard of obesity being linked to neglect and therefore a child protection issue.

Neglect in Victoria is a failure to provide the child or young person with an adequate standard of nutrition, medical care, clothing, shelter or supervision to the extent that the health and development of the child or young person are significantly impaired or placed at risk.

An interesting discussion on this topic was aired on Life Matters, Radio National. (Mp3 is also available for download from the RN site)

I’d be very interested to hear what you think on this issue so please feel free to leave comments and thoughts.

State care ‘failing children’

February 5, 2009 at 9:02 am | Posted in Articles, Media | Leave a comment
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The Age has run a large article which tells of some of the downsides of residential care for children and young people, particularly those with an intellectual disability.

Bernie Geary, the Victorian Child Safety Commissioner, is quote throughout the article, as are a number of leading Victorian practitioners from the not-for-profit sector. You can read the full article here .

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