There is a shortage of foster carers across the country, with over 40,000 children currently in the out of home care system nationwide.
The majority of them have been in care for two years or more and need carers to provide safe, nurturing and stable homes, either on a short term basis until children can be reunited with birth families, or as long term carers via guardianship and adoption.
There are a number of barriers carers face in both the process of becoming carers, but also during their journey as carers.
“It can be challenging to navigate the system and knowing where to access information, particularly on the path to adoption,” according to Adopt Change CEO Renée Carter.
“When children come into care they have typically experienced trauma.
“This trauma adversely impacts their social, emotional, physical and psychological wellbeing.
“To properly understand and help children manage the impacts of trauma, carers – and society as a whole – needs to become trauma aware.
“Children dealing with the emotional aftermath of a trauma require adults to engage in a consistent, transparent and coherent way, and as such, carers need to be adequately informed as to best practice when dealing with children in these situations.”
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Adopt Change is a national not-for-profit organisation with a focus on advocating for safety, nurture and permanency for all children.
The organisation was appointed by the NSW Government earlier this year to operate the new program, My Forever Family NSW, which provides recruitment, training, support and advocacy for carers across the state, including foster carers, kinship carers, guardians and adoptive parents for children from out of home care.
Under the mantra of “Caring for those who care for kids”, My Forever Family NSW recognises the need for carers to have access to supportive resources to allow foster care placements to thrive.
The program also links carers to appropriate training offered in their area. The advocacy component of the program works towards a better system so that carers have a better experience, but ultimately so that children are provided with better outcomes through stable and nurturing family placements.
The training calendar provides access to existing services, and supplements this with training from evidence based trauma informed programs and practical therapeutic play training.