Kids need homes

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Kids need homes

Making a difference: Celia Irwin, Peter Hall and the home based care team at GippsCare: Chris Milne, Pam Chant and Alan Kent.

VULNERABLE children desperately need more foster carers in South Gippsland, with demand outstripping supply.
Their safety is at risk due to such problems as drug and alcohol abuse, mental illness and domestic violence at home.
There are about 40 children spread among 50 foster care households in South Gippsland and Bass Coast shires.
But children are now tending to stay in care longer, meaning carers in the existing pool are not available to receive more children.
Some children need long term care while others are in need of respite care. Some children come from this region, but many hail from the Latrobe Valley.
While babies and sibling groups need love, carers are mostly needed for teenagers, said Peter Hall, team leader of home based care at GippsCare.
“Only 12 per cent of carers put their hand up for kids aged 12 and over across Victoria,” he said.
“But there is no doubt that good stable care has been the most therapeutic factor in a child improving in their own development and mental health.”
GippsCare, an arm of the Salvation Army, has 22 carers in South Gippsland after a successful recruiting campaign this year.
But like many other organisations, GippsCare needs more carers for teenagers, said GippsCare senior manager, Celia Irwin.
“Adolescents are young people with complex and challenging needs. A number come from backgrounds of family violence and they are very traumatised,” she said.
UnitingCare Gippsland struggles to find homes to cater for groups of siblings, to help keep what is left of a family together, said Cindy Pullar, director of family wellbeing.
“Sometimes families are split between south and east Gippsland,” she said.
Agency Berry Street recently ran a campaign calling for foster carers of adolescents but received little response.
In any month, the agency needs to place 10 new children, with up to 200 children in foster care in Gippsland, said home-based care team leader, Marg Proudfoot.
“We are consistently contacted by the Department of Human Services (to place children),” she said.
Carers are difficult to find and often couples whose children have grown and left home take on foster children to battle “empty nest
syndrome”.
“The carers we do have in Gippsland are of a high standard,” Ms Proudfoot said.
Berry Street has four carer families in South Gippsland offering long term care and others offer respite services, caring from children from newborns through to 16-year-olds.
UnitingCare Gippsland has six foster care families in South Gippsland.

Short URL: http://www.thestar.com.au/?p=259

Posted by SiteAdmin on Oct 19 2010. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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