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.

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A day in the life of a foster brother…

June 25, 2010 at 10:48 am | Posted in About Fostering, Media, Stories, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

We all have many questions when we’re thinking about becoming involved in foster care. But for parents one of the most common questions is; How will this affect my own children?

We talked to 12 year old Liam, who is a foster brother, to hear about the experience of fostering from his perspective.

“It’s pretty easy to be a foster brother. If you get along well with them it’s like having a friend stay for a while.

You get to hopefully help kids like stopping them from getting into drugs and you help them have a better life.
I guess it would be hard if you don’t get along. Sometimes it might be hard on the first night but when you get to know them they’re really good. You just find things you have in common, you can usually find at least one thing you have in common.

Seeing the changes is great. For example some of the kids used to try and steal but you see their behaviour and attitudes change.

What advice would you give to other kids
I’ve made lifelong friends, it’s really good.

What advice would you give to parents who are worried about their kids if they become foster carers?
Well the kids probably won’t like the idea at the start and they’ll be really worried. But once they start they’ll really like it. When they get the first call for the first placement they’ll definitely be excited.

Has being a foster brother changed your life in any other ways?
Yeah I want to be a psychologist when I grow up so that I can work with kids in foster care. I really like helping people.

Help needed to foster his future

May 21, 2010 at 10:43 am | Posted in Stories, Uncategorized, Where can I foster? | 2 Comments

 

Photo by Jarrod: "The carers look after me and I want people to know they are kind"

Two years ago Marge and her partner, Kevin, became foster carers so that they could support a young boy living in a residential care unit.

“Kevin knew Jarrod (not his real name) through his job as a Residential Care Worker and they really connected so we decided to become respite foster carers for him.”

For Marge, being a foster carer and getting to know Jarrod has been incredibly rewarding. But she says that while she will continue to be involved in a grandmotherly role, Jarrod really needs a family environment.

“He needs the security and support that comes with a family. All those things that most of us consider to be ‘normal’ he has never had due to his past experiences of instability and of being cared for by staff in a residential unit.”

Marge says Jarrod’s perfect foster carer would be someone with the energy to support his interest in trains, mechanics and bike riding.

“Someone who could take him bike riding or just on a train trip would be great. That probably means someone 20 years younger than me who has a little more energy!”

“Someone who wants to make a long term difference, helping him become an adult who makes good decisions- that’s the kind of person who would make a huge difference in his life.”

Men, women and families from all walks of life between the ages of 21 and 80 are encouraged to call Anglicare Victoria about becoming a foster carer or a respite carer for local young people. Call 1300 889 335 or e-mail fostercare.eastern@anglicarevic.org.au for more information.

www.anglicarevic.org.au/fostermyfuture

Fostering Futures Through Art

March 30, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Posted in About Fostering, Stories | Leave a comment

 Children and young people in foster care expressed their future ambitions through artworks at a recent Anglicare Victoria event in Maroondah.

Over 60 children and young people have drawn pictures depicting what they want to be when they grow up. There are astronauts, dentists, florists, fire-fighters, vets, guitarists and landscape designers. Others just simply drew images which reflected ideas such as peace and healing. There were also some slightly less orthodox ambitions such as becoming the sea or a rabbit.

All children and young people expressed similar themes of hope and optimism. Their works are a reminder that despite hardships children face, each one deserves the chance to achieve their dreams.

Members of the community are invited to find out about ways you can be involved in fostering the futures of children and young people at an Anglicare Victoria information session, where artworks will be on display.

Details: Anglicare Victoria Box Hill, 7-11 Shipley St, Box Hill, Thursday April 15th, 7:30-8:30pm. For bookings or for more information call 1300 889 335 or fostercare.eastern@anglicarevic.org.au.  

You can also stay up to date about more foster care stories at the Anglicare Victoria Foster Care Blog.

Caring at Christmas

December 21, 2009 at 1:54 pm | Posted in About Fostering, Around the Nation, Stories | 5 Comments

Kara (not her real name) is so excited about Santa coming she’s been sleeping with her Christmas stocking.

She’s also excited because Christmas this year for Kara will be a totally new experience- it’s her first with her foster carers, Elizabeth and James.

You can read more about Kara’s Christmas at the Anglicare Victoria Blog.

Many foster families like Kara’s across Victoria are preparing for Christmas. We wish them all a very special Christmas and hope that the festive season is filled with joy and love.

Anglicare Victoria CEO Ray Clearly discusses Child Protection issues

November 30, 2009 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Child Protection | 2 Comments

Victoria’s major players in Child Protection policy and community services met for a discussion in the lead up to the release of the Ombudsman’s report into Child Protection last week. Anglicare Victoria’s CEO, Ray Cleary, was among the leaders and experts at the table for a discussion facilitated by The Age.

On the agenda were issues of the child protection system, worker fatigue in the sector, community engagement, funding and resources, children’s courts and mandatory reporting.

Here’s some of what Anglicare Victoria’s Ray Cleary had to say.

“I don’t think we’re asking the right questions. And the right questions, to me, are what’s happening to families in our society today, in Australia, which is seeing increasing numbers of children coming to notification for child protection and family support, and what’s happening to our children in that regard? What are our schools having to deal with? Why are we seeing so many families where relationships are so fragile? It seems to me they’re the bigger questions we ought to be asking because that stands behind why I think we’re seeing the notifications in child protection, the increase in placements in our home care…”

“But let’s put the elephant on the table: that’s about resources, and that’s about the Victorian community or the Australian community being willing to invest in children and families and not invest in other things which in fact work against that; so education, housing, health services, kindergartens, child care centres, all those sorts of things, are the way that we can only address that question.”

You can read a transcript of the discussion from The Age website, or read the related news article. You can also follow news and opinion from Anglicare Victoria’s Social Justice and Foster Care blogs. 

Fostering relations with parents

November 24, 2009 at 12:16 pm | Posted in About Fostering, Links, Stories | 1 Comment

It comes as a surprise to many people that foster care is more than looking after a child. When a child comes into a foster carer’s home, they often come with a family and other people who have been connected with them and who will be connected for their entire lives.

The level of contact foster carers have with parents or grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins varies from situation to situation. It may involve face-to-face contact or it may not, but as two Anglicare Victoria foster carers discuss, a positive relationship with families of origin sets you on the right track for a positive placement.

Read more about what foster carers had to say at the Anglicare Victoria blog.

Can you Foster His Future?

September 14, 2009 at 2:58 pm | Posted in About Fostering, Coming Events, Events, Issues for Fostering, Links, Stories, Where can I foster? | Leave a comment

matthew.picAnglicare Victoria Eastern Region is running a campaign to find a foster carer for “Matthew” (not his real name).

Matthew is 16 years old who loves basketball, school and helping out around the home. He currently lives in Residential Care but according to Anglicare Victoria a home environment is what he needs to reach his full potential.

If you would like more information call 1300 889 335, e-mail fostercare.eastern@anglicarevic.org.au or read over the website and media release. 

Anglicare Victoria will be holding information sessions about Matthew on September 22nd, Nunawading Civic Centre (Courtyard Room) at 1:00-2:00 and 7:30-8:30. Call 1300 889 335 to register your interest.

Response to Calls for Mandatory Reporting

July 22, 2009 at 5:01 pm | Posted in Around the Nation, Child Protection | Leave a comment

Anglicare Victoria has responded to calls for an expansion to mandatory reporting laws for child abuse saying that child protection systems alone cannot ensure safety.

In a media release Anglicare Victoria CEO Ray Cleary said that the real focus should be on better training for child protection staff and improving outcomes for vulnerable children in out-of-home care.

 “Receiving a notification of abuse or neglect is just one step in a long process to protect children,” Dr Cleary said.

Anglicare Victoria pointed to a shortage of foster carers as a key concern and encouraged the wider community to play a part in ensuring children are protected within our families.

 Dr Cleary said calls for a Judicial Inquiry into Victoria’s child protection system were premature and could divert crucial funding.

Anglicare Victoria also writes a Foster Care Blog available at their website

Funds Boost Therapeutic Foster Care

July 15, 2009 at 3:51 pm | Posted in About Fostering, Coming Events, Supports for Carers | Leave a comment

The Maroondah Leader newspaper has reported that $120,000 has been donated to the Australian Childhood Foundation to support Therapeutic Foster Care.

The funds were raised at a recent business charity event.

Anglicare Victoria provides two Therapeutic Foster Care programs in partnership with the Australian Childhood Foundation. The donation is a welcome support for carer education in therapeutic models of caring for trauma affected children.

Many foster carers with Anglicare Victoria Eastern Region have already had access to AChF training, which advances their knowledge of the effects of trauma on a child’s brain development, builds their skills in responding to a child’s behaviours and their understanding of the child’s needs.

All new foster carers are encouraged to take up training opportunities provided by the Australian Childhood Foundation in the area of therapeutic understanding.  

Anglicare Victoria aims to provide all carers with access to quality training throughout their fostering journey in specialist areas. As well as therapeutic training, Anglicare Victoria Eastern Region offers training relevant to caring for teenagers such as cyber safety, and identity. For foster carers of a child with a disability, training is offered in areas such as learning disabilities and communicating with non-verbal children.

For more information see the Anglicare Victoria Foster Care Blog or come to an information night:

Thursday 16th July (tomorrow) at 7:30pm, Anglicare Victoria Knox, 666 Mountain Hwy, Bayswater, call 1300 889 335.

Upcoming information sessions also at Warrandyte, Kew, Lilydale and Box Hill (see events listing for dates and venues).

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