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

Great Expectations

June 29, 2010 at 11:21 am | Posted in About Fostering, Coming Events, Issues for Fostering, Resources, Supports for Carers | Leave a comment

As we eagerly await the research report into educational outcomes for children by Anglicare Victoria’s Research and Innovations Unit, it seems fitting to take a look at the existing resources around working with schools.

The Child Safety Commissioner’s Office has produced a booklet called “Great Expectations” which is a great tool for helping teachers and principals understand the backgrounds and needs of children in care.

It gives and overview of the barriers, the challenges and inclusive learning opportunities. There’s also a powerpoint presentation to guide participants through the material.

For information about the Anglicare Victoria Report into Educational Outcomes for Children in Out of Home Care check the Anglicare Victoria website.

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.

Charter for Children in Out-Of-Home Care

April 24, 2009 at 12:19 pm | Posted in About Fostering, Resources | Leave a comment

Did you know that Victoria has a charter of rights for children living in Out-of-Home Care? This charter governs the way all of us work and care for children while they are unable to live with their parents and are living in out-of home-care.

The charter’s focus is on the right to be safe and well. These rights “to be safe and feel safe”  and “to stay healthy and well and go to a doctor, dentist or other professional for help when I need” have been put first to symbolise them as the most important.

There are 16 rights listed in total in this charter.

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.

Follow us on Twitter

April 14, 2009 at 2:54 pm | Posted in Links, Resources, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You can now follow our updates on twitter by following the links below or through the Twitter link on the side-bar.

Foster a Brighter Future: Video

March 19, 2009 at 3:12 pm | Posted in About Fostering, Media, Resources | Leave a comment

Or you can visit the website for more videos and stories from Victorian foster carers.

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.

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