Rewards all round for caring

Emily SharpSound Telegraph
The Department for Child Protection and Family Support’s Rockingham assistant district director Vania Da Paz is encouraging members of the communityto think about fostering.
Camera IconThe Department for Child Protection and Family Support’s Rockingham assistant district director Vania Da Paz is encouraging members of the communityto think about fostering. Credit: SOUND TELEGRAPH, Emily Sharp.

New statistics show that just 0.2 per cent of people living in Rockingham’s 50,000 households have put their hand up to foster children, with a district director labelling the situation as dire.

There are about 300 children and young people in care in the Rockingham district with 42 foster carer households and 56 family carer households.

However, the Department for Child Protection and Family Support is calling for more individuals and families to consider the selfless role.

Rockingham district director Julie Newsham said the department was looking for committed people from as far north as Hope Valley and as far south as Singleton who would be willing to open their hearts and homes.

“Foster carers are everyday people who like helping others, especially children, and are willing to care for them temporarily or permanently,” she said. “They can be male or female, single or couples, in same-sex relationships, with or without children of their own, working full time or part-time, or retired.”

The department is also focusing its recruitment efforts on encouraging more Aboriginal people to become foster carers with more than 50 per cent of children in care Aboriginal.

Assistant district director Vania Da Paz said every child deserved a permanent, safe, stable and nurturing home.

“Foster carers come from diverse backgrounds and play a vital role in enriching the lives of the most vulnerable children and young people — they are the foundation of every care system, and bring a range of skills through their own life experiences,” she said. “The greatest reward in becoming foster carers is seeing a once traumatised child grow up to lead a full, happy and productive life — carers both give and receive love and they help children and young people to not just survive their childhoods, but to thrive and prosper as adults.

“Children are our greatest asset and many lives have been turned around because of the dedication and support offered by carers.”

Baldivis resident Tracey Boswell has been a foster carer since September 2015 and has cared for a 16-month-old boy since he was five weeks old.

“It’s just been amazing watching this little boy grow up in front of me,” she said. “If people are even considering it, my advice would be to just go for it — it really is a priceless experience.”

The department is holding information sessions on February 21 at Unit 1, Level 1, 18 Civic Boulevard, Rockingham. For more information visit cpfs.wa.gov.au or contact 1800 182 178.

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