FOR two years now, high school teacher and Bendigo resident Alanah Brand has been a dedicated foster carer.
For Ms Brand, being a foster carer is one of the most rewarding and important things a person can do and this Foster Care Week, she hopes to encourage people to consider taking it on.
"I have been a foster carer for just over two years now and I have just had my first long-term placement end," she said.
"I had a little seven-year-old in my care for a year and a half and before long-term care, I did emergency respite care."
Ms Brand said she initially became involved after seeing the shortage of carers in the region.
"I am a high school teacher and have been a teacher for eight years now and through my job, I just saw the need for carers in the area," she said.
"I wanted to care and give children that didn't have a safe home, somewhere to live and help them have the best start in life.
"It's a super rewarding thing to do and I love doing it."
Ms Brand said her first long-term placement was an amazing experience.
"From looking after my last child, it was lovely to watch her grow, learn to write, learn to read and ride a bike for the first time," she said.
"Watching her make new friends and play with them and build relationships with other people.
"These children become a part of your family and it is really beautiful to see them thrive and learn and live life."
Ms Brand encouraged others to start the process to become a foster carer.
"It's really important to get more carers into the region and there is more and more demand for carers at the moment," she said.
"Carers just need to remember that they are supporting a really vulnerable child through the hardest time in their life .
"It's hard to be separated from their parents and their family members, siblings and friends and they need our love and support during these hard and difficult times."
Foster Care Week started Sunday and runs until Saturday.
Ms Brand said people could visit here for more information about Anglicare Victoria's foster care program.
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