Brighter future for kids

Jackie (left) and Laura: Whether it be one weekend a month, a year or a lifetime, you have the power to change a child's life by becoming a Barnardos foster carer.
Jackie (left) and Laura: Whether it be one weekend a month, a year or a lifetime, you have the power to change a child's life by becoming a Barnardos foster carer.

For most of us, childhood was the easiest part of our lives but for thousands of Australian children suffering abuse and neglect it's the hardest. That's why Barnardos Australia needs you, as your help and sponsorship can transform a child's life.

At Barnardos, they believe every child deserves to grow up safely, free from abuse and neglect.

There is an urgent need for short term care for children at the moment.

Jackie, a foster carer, started as a weekend respite carer with Barnardos and has been with the organisation for over 16 years.

"I love children and as my children became older, I did crisis care, respite and now caring for a foster child.

"It's very rewarding watching them mature and grow. They come to you traumatised but 99.9 per cent of the time they end up normal, happy children.

"We all say you need patience - you need that with your own children - but you should also think outside the box.

"Plus you need to be dependable and have a routine. Every case and child is different including the length of time they are fostered."

"They don't get kicked out the family home at 18 as they can choose to stay although a lot do go their own way.

"Barnardos has been wonderful as there is always someone available 24 hours a day and seven days a week. They can come out at night; they are brilliant.

"You just phone them if the child is having a bad day or you want to ask something."

Barnardos staff are highly trained in trauma so they are a guide to foster carers, catching up with them fortnightly or monthly.

Jackie's sister Laura helps by being a respite carer one weekend a month to give Jackie a break.

"The great thing about Barnardos is that they don't mix families," Jackie said. "You can only foster siblings, which means they are not competing against each other.

"I would definitely recommend being a foster carer as it is so rewarding, keeps you young at heart and you are fully supported."

You don't have to be young either as Barnardos has carers in their 70s with maturity, wisdom and usually more time although foster caring is great for younger adults too.

More than 45,000 children in Australia can't live with their parents and need what most of us take for granted every day - a safe place to call home.

A leading non-government, non-denominational, child safety and family care organisation, Barnardos is a registered charity and has provided services for vulnerable children, young people and their families in Australia since 1921.

They work with highly vulnerable children and young people to provide a safe home and permanent relationships for all their childhood.

Whether it be one weekend a month, a year or a lifetime, you can become a Barnardos foster carer. They provide training, an allowance and 24/7 support.

Phone 1800 663 441 or see barnardos.org.au

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