CARING adults living in regional South Australia can play a key role in ensuring the state’s most vulnerable babies, children and young people receive safety, care and support when they need it most.
That is the important message from ac.care this National Child Protection Week (September 4-10) as the local country agency looks to build its network of foster carers across South Australia.
“This week is a timely reminder your support can help ensure vulnerable children have the care they need when they need it most,” ac.care foster care manager Dani Atkinson said.
“By becoming a carer, you join our diverse network of people from all backgrounds, cultures, genders and families who are helping provide safe, loving homes for vulnerable children,” Ms Atkinson said.
This year’s National Child Protection Week theme is “Every child, in every community, needs a fair go”, which aligns with ac.care’s focus on building its network of caring adults across the Limestone Coast, Riverland, Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.
Ms Atkinson said foster care shortages had been exacerbated by the impacts of COVID-19 with uncertainty in people’s lives leading to a drop in new carers joining ac.care’s network at a time when more children were in desperate need of a safe and supportive family environment.
“Long-term foster carers are vital, but you can commit for the time you have available and what suits you,” Ms Atkinson said.
“You can commit to anything from respite for weekends, through to emergency, short-term or long-term care.”
Ms Atkinson said ac.care staff were inspired daily by the network of wonderful people dedicated to caring for children and young people, adding while their efforts were gratefully appreciated, there was always a need for more carers.
“We regularly hear from carers that opening their hearts and homes to young people not only provides the care and support the child needs, but also transforms their own lives, adding meaning and bringing the joy of childhood into their homes and families,” she said.
“Of course, it can be challenging, but also immensely rewarding and vital to keeping our kids safe.”
ac.care will be celebrating the contributions of carers next week for SA Foster and Kinship Carers Week, from September 11-17.
To find out more about foster care, call ac.care during business hours on 1300 ACCARE (1300 222 273), visit www.accare.org.au/services/foster-care or follow the agency’s Facebook page to be alerted to upcoming information sessions.