Our vulnerable Illawarra children. The kids in crisis, what can be done?

 Shannon Kendrick - Guest Author Tue 1 October 19


As parents ourselves, we only ever want to keep our children safe, secure and happy. The vulnerability and innocence of a baby or child is one we feel compelled to protect and nurture.

Yet, as this is being written, our Illawarra children and young people are at risk.

We have a crisis in NSW as 47,000 children across NSW require urgent foster care and there is an immediate need for 350 foster carers.

Due to the shortage of foster carers in our Illawarra community, children are being forced to move away from their community and leave behind all that is local and familiar to them. They are losing everything.

Despite the best efforts of many dedicated foster carers based outside the Illawarra who take our local kids in, the huge upheaval for the child creates even more disadvantage. Every day, Illawarra children are being uprooted and lose their local daycare, schools, church, soccer clubs, friends and all they know in their community.

We do not have enough local, Illawarra and Wollongong based foster carers to keep our children cared for within our own local community.

This is a heart wrenching and very local problem that not enough of us know about, yet there is a solution. 

There are many misconceptions about fostering and foster care, so we spoke to the credible source of Shannon Kendrick, Director of Caring with Carers, to get an honest and wider understanding of what fostering is and who can do it.

Caring With Carers are also inviting the local Illawarra community to attend their FREE Foster Care Information Session to find out more about how you can help - CLICK HERE for the FREE Event Details and to reserve your spot. 

Caring with Carers is dedicated to training, assessing and supporting foster carers in the Illawarra and beyond.

To enquire about becoming a foster carer in Wollongong or the Illawarra, you can contact them on 0452 282 698 email admin@caringwithcarers.com.au

Here are more details for anyone who can offer a safe, secure, warm home for a local baby, infant, toddler or child/young person in desperate need of immediate / short term permanent care.

- Anyone over 21 years of age can apply to become a foster carer.

- You are guided through the foster application process with Caring with Carers, who of course ensure anyone applying is checked for their suitability, so every child requiring care can be safe.

- Through Caring with Carers, you attend the appropriate training, can access 24/7 support and you are matched to the right foster agencies based on your unique situation and location (so you don't have to choose which foster agency is right for you).

- There are different types of foster carers desperately needed in the Illawarra, starting from respite care (around one weekend a month), to shorter term care through to permanent care.

- You can specify the age of the child you would be most comfortable to care for and who would fit best with your current family dynamic.

- You receive a substantial allowance to cover the cost of the child/ren in your foster care.

- Every effort is made to keep fostered siblings together.

- Once you have completed the assessment and training process, you will have a discussion as to when you are available to begin caring.

- Introducing another child or young person into your family undoubtably has an impact on your family unit, however it can help cultivate a sense of care, compassion and appreciation in your own children, for the love and stability they have, and how this can be shared to other children in desperate need for it.

- Fostering can help break the cycle of disadvantage, you can make the difference in a world where the outcomes for children who don't have stability, are bleak.

- Foster carers come from every walk of life. The key requirements are time, patience and an open heart, however the rewards for foster carers are significant. The fulfilment of knowing what a difference you have made, can be life changing.

- Fostering can be temporary, as working towards reunification of their birth family, is the best outcome for the child or young person. This can mean love and loss for foster carers, but always with the understanding that the best interest of the child comes first. However, it is not uncommon for foster care to turn into adoption in some cases.

Caring with Carers is not a foster agency, instead they work with many foster care agencies throughout NSW and specifically in the Illawarra to ensure that you as a potential foster carer, are supported trained, informed and are matched with local foster agencies who are the best fit for you.

If you would love to discover how you can make a difference to kids in need in your local community, make contact with Caring With Carers on 045 228 2698 or email admin@caringwithcarers.com.au or come along to the upcoming community event to hear more. 

With our thanks to Shannon Kendrick from Caring with Carers for working with Parents Guide Illawarra, for sponsoring this article and for keeping us informed in how we can best help our most vulnerable in our Illawarra community xxx 


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