Back on TrACK with foster care

July 1, 2010 at 12:07 pm | Posted in About Fostering, Articles, Resources, Stories | Leave a comment

As the Anglicare Victoria report into Educational Outcomes for Children in Out of Home Care has found, keeping kids in foster care engaged in school and education is a major challenge. Education is key to future opportunities for children and young people when they become adults, but experiences of trauma, instability and other difficulties form significant barriers to children achieveing their dreams.

In Jamie’s* case though, effective interventions, encouragement and persistance by a range of professionals involved in his life have led to a turn around in his engagement in school. It’s a great example of the ways that new therapuetically based programs such as Anglicare Victoria’s TrACK program are able to make a real difference in the lives of children and young people.   

Jamie* first came into foster care when he was four years old due to abuse and domestic violence in his family. He was targeted by his stepfather and eventually rejected when his step-siblings were in the family home.

Early years in foster care were plagued by instability with a number of different placements and his behaviours became very difficult to manage. He was throwing tantrums for hours on end, needing to control everyone and everything around him, lashing out in anger without real cause, fire lighting and generally being oppositional towards any adult guidance. His caseworkers decided he should move into a children’s Residential Care Unit.

 Then at seven years old Jamie moved in with a new foster family as part one of Anglicare Victoria’s therapeutic programs.

As part of this program the foster family were given extra training, resources and support in order to re-parent Jamie to help him overcome his traumaic background.

Jamie had counselling from the Australian Childhood Foundation on a regular basis. His foster carers also had the support of psychologists and other specialists to give them advice about how to respond to his behaviours in a way which would help him learn new behaviours and recover from his trauma.

His carers were also able to work together with the school to increase his attendance and Jamie’s natural parents were also offered education about his challenges and how to help him recover from the trauma of his early life.

 It wasn’t easy for anyone, but over time improvements could be seen in Jamie’s behaviour.

With some changes to the family’s living arrangements and the support of extended family, Jamie started staying with his natural family every second weekend, re-empowering them to care for him. Relationships were improving and eventually Jamie was able to return to his mother’s care full-time.

 Now at 12 years old Jamie continues to live with his mother and his family. Although Jamie’s behaviour is much improved, it will take years to fully resolve. Jamie’s mum sometimes rings the foster carers for tips and advice when things get difficult and Jamie still occasionally visits his former foster carers for the weekend..

 Jamie knows that he has two families who both care about him and whom work together to do their best by him.

*Names and images in this story have been changed in the interests of privacy


Young people in care make their debut

May 28, 2009 at 12:10 pm | Posted in Articles, Events, Media, Stories | Leave a comment

Photo by Simon O'Dwyer, owned by The Age

Photo by Simon O'Dwyer, owned by The Age

Last week 18 couples made their debut at the Melbourne Town Hall to 650 proud guests.

Although Deb Balls occurr every year across communities around Australia, the path these young ladies and gentlemen have journeyed along from childhood to adulthood has been more difficult than for most other Victorian children.

All of these young people have grown up living away from their own families, living instead in foster care, residential care or in the care of other relatives.

Last week they celebrated final chapter of that journey in front of family, friends, foster carers, foster care agencies such as Anglicare Victoria, and other distinguished guests including Jenny Maklin.

Looking wonderful and feeling like prince and princesses the young couples stood tall as they swirled around the dance floor on their night of nights.

Read more  in an article from The Age

Foster Care Agencies Welcome Inclusion of Professional Carers

May 4, 2009 at 11:14 am | Posted in About Fostering, Articles, Issues for Fostering, Media, Resources | Leave a comment
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Anglicare Victoria has welcomed the news that Victorians can expect next week’s state budget to include funding for 100 new professional care placements over the next four years.

Anglicare Victoria has been actively campaigning in newspapers and other news-media for such a move by government over the past few weeks.

100 Professional Carers for Victoria’s most vulnerable

May 4, 2009 at 10:24 am | Posted in Around the Nation, Articles, Child Protection, Media, Resources | 1 Comment

The Age has reported expectations that next week’s state budget could include a “professional care model” to fund one-to-one care for Victoria’s most vulnerable children.

These professional carers will be expected to have qualifications in social work, psychology or related fields. 100 placements will be targeted at children who have experienced extreme trauma and who have significant challenging behaviours. These placements are expected to be rolled out over the next four years.

Of course, with 5800 children living in Out Of Home Care across Victoria, the move towards professional carers is not intended to replace volunteer foster carers who will remain the dominant cohort of carers in the sector.

Other child protection funding areas of the budget could include:

  • Early intervention programs for vulnerable families, such as providing them with better access to social workers, to prevent children from being removed from home.
  • Extra support and training for relatives caring for children removed from their homes.
  • Volunteer mentors for children in residential care and extra resources for emergency responses

The federal government has also recently announced child protection funding with the formation of a Child Abuse Task Force. Made up of Australian Health and Welfare agencies, the task force is a response to a report titled “Inverting the Pyramid” which argues that a uniform approach to child protection in Australia needs to be developed.

Additionally, COAG has agreed to other areas of spending including greater access to information about families at risk across all the states and territories, and an increased leaving care allowance for young people making the transition from foster care to independent living.

Foster caring enriches life says Hoddles Creek mum

April 23, 2009 at 9:00 am | Posted in About Fostering, Articles, Coming Events, Media, Uncategorized, Where can I foster? | Leave a comment

image from Lilydale and Yarra Valley LeaderLisa and Steven Webb and their family have described fostering as rewarding for the whole family. The family have been involved for 18 months and have a particular focus on sibling groups. Read more about the Webb’s story or come along to an information night to find out more. 

image from Lilydale and Yarra Valley Leader


Pair opens heart, door to children

April 21, 2009 at 2:55 pm | Posted in Articles, Events, Links, Media, Stories | Leave a comment
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Image property of Maroondah Journal

Lots of love: Foster parenting comes from the heart for Shirley and Malcolm.

A local Montrose couple shares their experience of fostering with their community through the local newspaper.

Shirley and Malcolm have interesting perspectives and acknowledge the challenges foster care can present. They also talk about the importance of respite for foster carers. They are clearly a positive and dynamic caring duo who supporting kids and families achieve.  

Remember that if you’d like to get involved you can come along to an information night, call 1300 889 335 or make an online enquiry.

Call for more carers in the Yarra Ranges

April 15, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Posted in Articles, Events, Links, Media, Where can I foster? | 1 Comment
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The Ranges Trader Mail and the Belgrave/ Ferntree Gully Mail have reported on the need for carers in the Yarra Ranges. Monbulk resident and current foster carer with Anglicare Victoria, Judy James, shares her experiences of being a involved, and urges others to give it a go.

If you live in the Yarra Ranges and would like to find out more you can come to an information session, call Anglicare Victoria on 1300 889 335 for an information pack or make an online enquiry.

*Online enquiries are the best option for people living outside the Yarra Ranges to find out more about foster care in your local community.

Foster Care Wage Push

April 15, 2009 at 10:11 am | Posted in About Fostering, Articles, Issues for Fostering, Media, Resources | 1 Comment
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The Herald Sun reported a call from Anglicare Victoria for foster carers to be paid a full-time wage of $60,000 per year. It was argued that compared to other care arrangements such as group homes or short-term units the cost of a wage would be a much cheaper option than the enormous expense these options attract. 

People who are considering becoming foster carers should note, however, that currently carers receive a tax-free reimbursement of between $200 and $400 per fortnight (depending on the age of children). This rate increases slightly for children withparticularly complex care or therapeutic needs.

From kid in care to carer: repaying a debt of gratitude (The Age)

March 20, 2009 at 9:12 am | Posted in About Fostering, Articles, Events, Links, Media, Stories | Leave a comment
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Youssif Assafiri inspired many people with his speech at the launch on Wednesday, and he’s now inspiring people across Victoria. In this article in The Age, Youssif shares his experience of separation from his family, residential care units and everytually foster carers. Youssif is now a residential care worker himself and advocate of foster care.

Residential care under fire

March 12, 2009 at 7:46 am | Posted in Articles, Media | Leave a comment
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The Age has run a front-page article today detailing some of the pitfalls of the teenage residential care system. Along with other media and professionals, The Age is increasing pressure on the State Government to resolve some of the ongoing issues with the system as part of the current Out of Home Care review in Victoria. You can read the full article here .

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