THIRTY more foster carers are needed for the Loddon-Campaspe region, especially in outlying towns.
St Luke’s Anglicare is calling on anyone interested in caring for children to consider being a foster parent.
Carers are sought especially from Romsey, Echuca, Castlemaine, Maryborough, Woodend and Kyneton.
St Luke’s has 150 children needing care in the region and only 70 carers, and another 30 carers “would be ideal,” said St Luke’s director of client services Grant Gibson.
“There are a significant number of children in the care system in our region,” he said.
“Having foster carers in the towns they live in means we can keep kids in their home communities and they can maintain their friendships and social networks and school connections."
“Sometimes we get sibling groups, and unless we’ve got a range of options it can be hard to keep them together,” he said.
All types of foster care are needed: short-term, respite, emergency, long-term, and weekend carers.
Although flexible working hours were “ideal” for carers, some carers worked full-time and looked after foster children on weekends, Mr Gibson said, or even for one night in an emergency.
“It’s generally open to all starters,” he said.
All ages of children need carers but there was a particular need for carers of teenagers, Mr Gibson said.
St Luke’s caregiver services manager Jacintha Condillac said adult foster carers could be employed or unemployed, single, married or divorced, or in a same-sex couple, from any ethnic, cultural background or religion.
St Luke's offers initial training in small groups over four nights and ongoing support to carers. Each foster carer gets a support worker to work through any issues.
If people are interested but not sure fostering is for them, they can call St Luke’s and have a chat, Mr Gibson said.
“If people are curious, they don’t have to commit straight away, they can call and ask questions and talk it through with us.”
Anyone interested in becoming a foster parent can call St Luke’s Bendigo office on 5440 1100 and speak to Ross Egleton.
Feature: A Little Love Goes a Long Way, Review page 20-21.