Foster Care Week: Illawarra couple's rewarding journey

Warren and Tammy Glover - who are caring for five foster children, as well as their own two boys - find fostering extremely rewarding. Picture: Adam McLean
Warren and Tammy Glover - who are caring for five foster children, as well as their own two boys - find fostering extremely rewarding. Picture: Adam McLean

In just under a decade, Tammy and Warren Glover have opened their home – and their hearts – to more than 50 foster kids.

The couple, from Illawarra’s southern suburbs, provide long-term, emergency and respite foster care and are currently looking after five children as well as their own two boys.

It’s carers like these who are being honoured this Foster Care Week, but while the Glovers appreciate the recognition – that’s not what they do it for.

‘’We started fostering nine years ago, firstly with the family and community services department and then with MacKillop Family Services,’’ Mrs Glover said.

‘’Our boys were in primary school at the time and since then we’ve had around 50 to 60 kids. I had a pretty difficult upbringing, so I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a foster carer and when I got married and had my own kids the opportunity arose.’’

It didn’t take much to convince her husband, who grew up with a foster sister and knew that the benefits flowed both ways.

‘’Every person deserves to grow up with love and stability and with people they can rely on, so the more the merrier I say,’’ Mr Glover said.

‘’I found growing up with a foster sister so rewarding, and I hope more people can open their eyes and see how much of a privilege it is to open their homes.’’

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) is using Foster Care Week, which runs until Saturday, in a bid to help fill a shortage in NSW of more than 600 carers.

ACWA acting CEO Dr Wendy Foote said this year’s theme ‘Be Part of an Amazing Journey, Foster a Child’s Future’, reflected the rewards that could flow from giving children the gift of a loving home.

‘’The rewards of fostering are enormous, and of course providing secure loving care to children can be the one thing that makes a difference in the child’s life and ensures their future,’’ Dr Foote said. 

‘’Many consider being a foster carer to be a calling.’’

Dr Foote said foster carers ranged from traditional families to single people, empty nesters, caring professionals and same sex couples. There was also a huge need for Aboriginal carers.

For details visit www.fosteringnsw.com.au or call 1800 236 783.

Mrs Glover urged people to consider fostering, and said it was an ‘’amazing privilege’’ to play some part in so many children’s lives.

‘’To have the ability to change someone’s life is a wonderful gift,’’ she said.

‘’We’ve had kids from all different backgrounds, including some with special needs, and we love to make a difference – however big or small.

‘’We are sometimes able to keep in touch with them once they’ve moved on – we still get photos of one little boy we fostered as a baby who went back to Nepal.’’

If you think you are in a position to foster – either as an emergency, respite, short term or long term carer – you can get details by visiting www.fosteringnsw.com.au or calling 1800 236 783.

Week to foster hope for children in need

Foster Care Week is an annual celebration which honours the essential role played by foster carers in our community.

Carers like Illawarra couple Tammy and Warren Glover (pictured) who, for the best part of a decade, have opened their home and their hearts to more than 50 children in need.

Mrs Glover says her own difficult upbringing prompted her to become a carer. Meantime Mr Glover grew up with a foster sister and knew how rewarding fostering could be for both the child – and the foster family.

During Foster Care Week, which runs until Saturday, the Glovers are urging others to think about fostering – whether on a temporary or permanent basis.

According to the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA), foster carers are a diverse group. 

Many traditional families like the Glovers provide care, but so do single people, same sex couples, empty nesters and more. Carers come from a range of different cultural and religious backgrounds too.

The ACWA is managing Fostering NSW - a partnership between the NSW Government and non-government out-of-home care agencies – which is seeking to attract 660 new foster carers in the coming year.

With almost 20,000 children and young people unable to live at home in NSW, there is always a need for more carers.

Now in its 26th year, Foster Care Week in 2016 is promoting the theme ‘Be part of an amazing journey, foster a child’s future’.

It’s a journey that the Glovers have never regretted, and a path they will not stray from for as long as they’re able.

‘’Every person deserves to grow up with love and stability and with people they can rely on, so the more the merrier I say,’’ Mr Glover says.

This week agencies will be holding celebrations to honour their carers. 

The week will culminate with the Kids in Care Cup – where 16 Aboriginal rugby league teams from across NSW will battle it out in a rugby league knockout competition to highlight the huge need for more Aboriginal foster carers. This year the event will play out in the Illawarra – at Figtree’s Sid Parrish park – with games from 8.30am to 5pm.