Eight foster children need homes daily in South Gippsland
CHILDREN desperately need somewhere to call home.
There is a chronic shortage of foster carers in the region, with one agency needing to place at least eight children in new homes every day in South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires.
Some foster children face the stressful plight of having to be moved from one house to another every night, despite a stable home being critical to a child’s mental wellbeing.
This week is Foster Care Week in Victoria and the agency Key Assets is pleading for new foster carers to come on board.
“The biggest barrier to recruitment is that people do not know of the need for carers in the community,” Key Assets’ Andrea Trezise said.
The agency has an office in Leongatha and took over foster care in South Gippsland from Salvocare Eastern, a branch of The Salvation Army.
Anyone can be a foster carer, from singles through to married couples of mixed or same sexes.
Sam Canobio of Cowes has been a foster carer for two years.
She cares for two brothers, aged three and one, as well as her own three children: two daughters aged 12 and 8, and a son, five.
“When we started fostering, we were just looking at doing one long term child and he fitted in well with our little world,” Ms Canobio said.
She is now caring for his younger brother as well, to ensure the boys can remain together.
“My children call them their brothers, and our extended family has taken them on and is giving them all the love they all need, so we are very lucky,” Ms Canobio said.
“If you think being a foster carer is a possibility, then reach out. There have been moments where I have been elated, sad and devastated, but watching these children grow and flourish is an absolute success story.”
Ms Trezise said relationships with positive adults helps heal the trauma the children have experienced.
“They’ve had such hard lives already, which is heartbreaking at their little age, but to have someone who listens to them and hugs them just makes a world of difference,” Ms Canobio said.
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