More foster carers needed for region to provide loving homes

Rachael and Robert Gooch are foster parents.
Rachael and Robert Gooch are foster parents. Christopher Chan GLA030313FOST

WOULD you care for a young stranger in need of a loving home and supported by a family environment?

In correspondence to Foster and Kinship Carer week this week, Foundations and Anglicare are calling for more foster carers within our region.

Anglicare Stronger Futures co-ordinator Mellissa Holzheimer said her organisation aimed to keep children in supportive family environments.

There is a constant and ongoing need for foster carers across the region.

"We're looking for people who understand how trauma impacts children's behaviours. They need to have time, dedication and flexibility to support different kids from different backgrounds," she said.

Similarly to Anglicare, Foundations provide all the support foster carers need, however their focus is more on high needs children.

"To give a child a chance at a normal life to live and grow and show them what it's like to live without abuse. Just a place to call home is a huge step for them," case worker Teresa Nguyen said.

Foundations is based in Rockhampton, however case workers travel from Emerald to Gladstone to provide support for carers and children.

"We provide training and help assist with caring for the children," Teresa said.

Both organisations lead carers in the right direction to give proper care for children in need.

Foster care can be for anyone

MAKING a difference in children's lives is something that appealed to Rob and Rachel Gooch.

Since 2008 they have opened their hearts and their homes to foster children.

Currently caring for three siblings, the couple hasn't looked back since the beginning.

"We couldn't have our own kids. The idea of foster care appealed to us," Mrs Gooch said.

Her experience with foster caring has been beneficial to her and the children.

"I understand myself better and I've learnt not to pass judgement on others."

She said foster care could really be for anyone.

There are a range of levels and responsibilities, from emergency and respite care to fulltime residency.

Despite the hectic schedules of busy Gladstone residents, everyone has time and ability to care.

"Even if it's just supporting foster children in education or sporting," Mrs Gooch said.

The couple chose to be fulltime carers.

"I struggle when they're only here for a month," Mrs Gooch said.

"You start to see some growth in them and then they are gone."

Although the couple enjoy their roles within these children's lives, it doesn't come without challenge.

"The most challenges come from the community. It's from how they're perceived. We don't like how they are labelled."

There's no doubt that there will always be a need for foster carers.

"If anyone has ever thought about it, now is the time to act. It's ridiculous the amount of children needing care. It's so sad and it shouldn't be the case."

Topics:  anglicare foster and kinship carer week foster care foster parents gladstone region

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