"I have always wanted to be a foster carer; however my busy life seemed to prevent me from looking into it until I heard about respite care..."
"....rewarding to be able to make a difference, no matter how little, to children. Challenging, with many different kinds of behaviours (usually brought about by circumstances the child has not control over), working out ways in which everyone can achieve goals, big and small to get through each day."
"Each child is different, everyday is different’ and to ‘keep an open mind, be prepared for everything!"
"To see the child respond to the structure and stable life I provided made it worthwhile for me"
Karen talks about being a long term foster carer of siblings as well as doing respite foster care.
"My husband, Tony and I have been fostering for about twenty years, since our youngest daughter was one, so I would also say that we foster as a family. We did take a few years break from fostering while we built our own home.
We started out as emergency and respite carers but now we have three long term children in our care and we also do regular respite care.
As a family, we feel it’s extremely important to keep sibling groups together where possible. Being removed from family and all that is familiar can be traumatic for children, so if they can stay with their siblings, it can really help them through that time. In the long term, children need to know who their biological family is. Where it’s not possible for the children to be together with their siblings in the same foster care placement, other strategies are put in place and this may mean living separately, while getting as much contact as is possible through respite weekends together, or through access visits with each other.
We will keep on fostering because we have three little boys that rely on us to keep their lives secure, positive and ‘normal’.
Kids who come to stay with us on regular respite get to experience a different lifestyle for a while. One boy comes from a home where he is the only child and his long term carer has some on-going health problems, so when he comes to us we take him camping and other fun things boys like to do.
Other times it can just be that the family needs to go away and the children may prefer or need to stay in town for sporting commitments and as a respite family we can help make this possible.
I think that respite foster care is something more people should think about doing, because one person can make a big difference to a young person in need."
"Hi, writing to you to share the best experience I have had in my life so far. It just happened. I was sitting at home one day over a weekend if I recall watching TV, which is very rare for me. All of a sudden a commercial came on that grabbed my attention, they needed foster carers badly for children. This made my mind turn. I was 25 years old, I had gone as far as I could in my small business, i was paying off my own home and I had spare rooms. I had a great childhood with fantastic family support still. So being so close to my parents we discussed the changes that it would bring to our lives and I felt more confident in the decision I was about to make.
I underwent the training required and found this knowledge to be an eye opener in to how some people really live. ac.care provided me with great knowledge on everything possible and the support they give is fantastic they were always happy to help in any situation. I give credit and have admiration for the staff at ac.care Berri office.
Over the five years as a carer I have had some fantastic children that have brought smiles to my face every morning that I woke. The children became a passion, trying to make their lives seem joyful and trying to allow them to be kids. I could see potential in all the children as I looked into their eyes.
It brought so much warmth and joy to watch these children have a so called normal childhood, Playing, learning, giving and receiving the love and respect everyone needs. Yes there are always problems but you learn to overcome these with the children as it is not their fault they have been put into a situation.
I have found in my experience that if you continually tell the child that you are there always for support they tend to open up a bit more on their feelings and they will succeed.
This has become a passion for me and the joy and fulfilment that you get from helping these children is beyond any words. I urge anyone that has a great caring heart to take this opportunity on as the rewards are beyond belief and better than anything you receive in life."