With a regional shortage of foster carers reaching crisis point over Christmas, UMFC (Upper Murray Family Care) is organising a series of informal sessions for locals interested in learning more about the Foster Care program.
The first information session is this Wednesday, where community members can ask questions of real, local carers.
‘People always say how amazing I am to be a carer but I’m just a normal person who cares’
UMFC Carer Management Team Leader Jeanine Aughey says it often takes years for people thinking about foster care to make that first contact with the organisation.
‘We want to give people the opportunity to ask those unanswered questions that cause them hesitation to applying and break down some of those barriers,” she said.
“Our carers know first-hand what is involved in applying and the day-to-day of foster care.”
Current foster carer Alice Gales urged people to consider applying, even if they don’t think they will be ‘perfect’.
‘People always say how amazing I am to be a carer but I’m just a normal person who cares,” Alice said.
‘If you’re thinking about foster care, just give them a call. I think people think it will be harder than it’s going to be. It is hard but the support is there. You just need to ask’.
Ms Aughey says the number of young people needing home-based care vastly exceeds the number of places available.
‘These are kids from our community,” Ms Aughey said.
“I think people forget that sometimes. Only around ten percent of our ‘active’ carers currently have space available, however, we service a large geographical region in Victoria, so even when carers are available, they may not be suitable for various reasons such as location.’
In 2018, 14 new households were accredited as foster carers marking an increase from just 12 in 2017. In previous years, the number of new households accredited has reached as high as 29.
Conversations with Carers will kick off on Wednesday January 23 at 5:30pm at 29 Stanley Street, Wodonga. For more about UMFC: http://umfc.com.au/