Kate said it was emotionally challenging when babies she had bonded with left her care to be placed into long-term arrangements or were reunited with biological family members, but she valued the opportunity to provide care and stability when it was vitally needed.
“People say ‘I don't know how you do it. Don't you get attached?’ Of course you get attached and there is a bit of grief when the placement ends with short-term care, but there's also a lot of joy in knowing you've given a baby a really good and stable start,” she said.
“It's really nice to see attachments form with their long-term carers when they go into the right placement, which makes all the sleepless nights worth it just to see them happy, loved and really wanted.”
The couple have cared for babies from overnight to a few months and have not ruled out providing long-term care to a foster child when the time and connection is right.
Kate said constant support from ac.care staff based in the region, along with their personal support network of family and friends, helped overcome any challenges they faced as foster carers.
“It makes a big difference being supported in the role,” she said.
Jeremy urged other caring adults to consider becoming foster carers, even if they could only commit to providing occasional respite care, which could be for occasional nights or weekends.
“If another carer needs a night off because they need their own time, then you can just help out as a respite carer and say ‘yeah, we'll take them for a night’,” he said.
“More people are needed for all types of care, including respite, which can help ensure longer term carers have the opportunity if they need a break.”
Kate urged people to learn more about foster care and consider joining the region’s network of diverse carers.
“There is a saying ‘you can't help everyone, but everyone can help someone’,” Kate said.
“It would be great if everyone could work out the way that they can help someone and maybe it is through foster care.”
ac.care foster care manager Dani Atkinson said carers transformed the lives of vulnerable children, providing safety and stability.
She said the agency staff were privileged to support a diverse network of 92 carer households in the Limestone Coast, but more were needed to provide family-based placements for the growing number of children in state care.
ac.care can be contacted on 1300 ACCARE (1300 222 273).