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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Shepparton's kids in crisis need caring home

Berry Street has called for more people to consider becoming a foster carer as many families have left the foster care system in the past five years.

JENNA BISHOP June 16, 2014 3:57am

Berry Street Hume regional director Patrice Jackson is encouraging more people to become foster carers.


 

A decrease in the number of foster families has prompted foster care organisation Berry Street to call for more people to help provide essential care to the region’s vulnerable children.

The organisation aims to work with families to provide a safe, temporary environment and strong support for children who have suffered trauma or abuse.

Hume regional director Patrice Jackson said it was concerning to see foster care in rapid decline in Victoria, leaving more children at risk of not receiving the care they needed.

‘‘Over the past five years in Victoria, many more families have left the foster care system than have volunteered to become a foster family,’’ she said.

‘‘We have a similar issue in the Goulburn Valley.

‘‘On any given night in the Goulburn Valley, over 100 children and young people aged between birth and 17 years are living in out-of-home care.

‘‘Due to the shortage of carers, some of these children and young people are placed away from their communities of origin, sometimes necessitating a change of school, separation from family and friends and disconnection from all that is familiar to them.’’

Ms Jackson said foster care had been the main way the Victorian community had cared for children removed from their families for reasons of abuse or neglect for the past 100 years.

Foster care is the temporary care of children and young people aged between zero and 17 by trained, assessed and accredited foster carers.

‘‘These children and young people come from various backgrounds and enter the foster care system for a range of reasons, with care arrangements made via court order, or voluntary agreement between the child’s parent and a foster care agency,’’ Ms Jackson said.

‘‘In Victoria, foster care is an important option for children and young people in care, although relative/kinship care is the most common form of care for child-ren and young people who cannot continue to live in their family home.’’

For Berry Street, the main aim of foster care is to help families reduce stress and solve problems so their child or children can return home as soon as possible.

It is generally required when there are no extended family members or social network members available to provide care.

Foster care can be anything from respite care to temporary emergency care ranging from one night to six weeks or transitional short-term or long-term care, meaning there were care options which would suit most people.

For more information on foster care or becoming a foster carer, visit www.berrystreet.org.au

For more on this issue, grab a copy of today’s News.

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