Couples Opt to Become Foster Carers

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August 25, 2016

By Tayla Nicholls

With over 18,000 children in need families, foster carers are in constant demand with some couples opting to be foster carers before having their own child.

“It’s really rewarding to know that you have changed a child’s life for the better” says Alison Thomas from Bligh Park who is currently fostering a 3 month old child whose birth mother was struggling with a drug addiction during pregnancy. Alison, who has fostered a child previously also adds that it is “difficult to let go because you have already bonded with them so I think I’m going to take her long term”.

On the other hand, short term fostering can be a great avenue for couples who do not want to commit to caring for a child long term or who are having trouble conceiving. Many couples are also looking to expand their families without having to wait. With two boys of her own under the age of 6, Alison also says that foster caring gives her the opportunity to have a daughter, adding “they really treat her as a sister, even giving her kisses”.

Although foster caring can provide temporary relief and stability for children, family and relationship counsellor, Kate Chorley-Prentice said “I have found that children, especially young children who are raised in the uncertainty of a foster care environment are likely to develop an insecure attachment with their primary care givers”, adding that it can have a negative effect on their relationships later in life. On the other hand, it can become a strain on a relationship because of the sudden responsibility of caring for a child.

Many children in foster care have also been subject to difficult upbringings, suffering neglect, abuse and drug addictions at the hands of their parents. “It’s really challenging” says Alison, “these children need a lot of extra care and patience so you have to be really committed”.

Barnardos Australia, a not-for-profit organisation also assists in the protection and fostering of Australian youth by providing affected children with short and long term foster families. To get involved, visit http://www.barnardos.org.au/ to pledge a donation or get involved in The Canberra Times Fun Run on September 4th to raise money for child protection.