Fay and John Munson celebrate National Families Week by sharing their foster care story.CASS SAVELLIS May 21, 2014 9:00am
Fay and John Munson have been foster carers for eight years and in that time have fostered 37 children in the Riverina/Murray area.
The couple are enrolled as full time carers with CareSouth and are currently caring for three children who have been with them on a long-term basis.
They are promoting the rewards of foster caring as part of National Families Week, which ends tomorrow and highlights the increasing need for foster carers in NSW.
‘‘We were always seeing the ads on television and thought when our kids were grown up that we’d like to become foster carers,’’ Mrs Munson said.
‘‘We have cared for children from two to 15 years old, all for different periods of time.’’
A highlight for the Munsons is the children ‘‘becoming part of your family’’.
‘‘You can see how they’ve developed over the years compared to when you first get them,’’ Mrs Munson said.
‘‘You also get to know their interests and get them into the activities and hobbies they enjoy.
‘‘One of our boys wasn’t really into sport, but we took him to the river and he learnt to wakeboard.
‘‘It was great seeing him out there enjoying himself. Now we’re saving up to buy a boat.’’
Mrs Munson said the key to being a successful carer is to be flexible and understanding.
‘‘When kids first come to me I take them shopping and let them pick out their own food that they’re used to eating.
‘‘Some nights I can cook several different meals for dinner as they’re not used to all eating a variety of food.
‘‘Then over time you get them out of those habits of eating poorly or not wanting to try new things.
‘‘They all have different needs or fears, you just take things day by day.’’
For those who have dabbled with the idea of becoming a foster carer, Mrs Munson said to simply ‘‘make the call’’.
‘‘If you’ve got the spare room, the time and love to provide to the kids, then sign up,’’ she said.
‘‘Remember they are going to face challenges from not growing up in a stable environment. They are coming into a stranger’s house .’’
Through CareSouth, Mrs Munson said it has been easy to meet other carers and overcome any challenges.
‘‘I made the transition to the non-government organisation CareSouth from Family and Community Services in June last year,’’ she said.
‘‘The staff have been accepting and make us feel welcome, it’s the best thing we’ve done.
‘‘CareSouth provides you with training and you can talk to other carers.
‘‘There are five other CareSouth carers in the Riverina area, with 14 children between us.
‘‘We all meet up and support each other. It also gives the kids someone else to talk to.
‘‘I completed training over three weekends plus modules at home, then there’s ongoing training available.
‘‘If there’s ever a problem, I give CareSouth a ring and Pru (McManus, at Deniliquin) points me in the right direction.
CareSouth provides each foster carer with a designated case worker and carers can sign up as full time, short term or emergency carers.
For more information about becoming a foster carer, drop into the CareSouth office at 78-80 Napier St, Deniliquin, or phone 5881
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