More foster carers in Tasmania are always needed, whether it be for short term, respite, emergency or long term care.
As part of Foster Care Week from September 13-19, Cecily Rosol, who has been a foster carer for eight years, shared both the challenging and rewarding nature of helping a child in need.
Herself and her husband initially started helping out with respite, which allows full time carers a break, and emergency care before they became long term carers.
"I was working in a school where I could see there was lots of need and my husband and I had the time, space and resources to do it," she said.
In other news:
Mrs Rosol said the children were survivors and therefore making them feel safe was her priority.
"The tricky behaviours of kids are all about how stressed they feel and when they feel stressed, they bring out their worst behaviours. So our job as carers is to reduce stress where we can so that they can relax," she said.
"One thing that's really great with kids who don't feel safe is play, just creating a playfulness and joyfulness and a lightness to it. So it's finding creative ways to help children feel safe to help them manage their feelings and sometimes that calls for all sorts of skills.
"Foster care is what you might call extreme parenting. Some people think it takes a saint to be a carer, but I've found I'm more of a teddy bear, clown, DJ, magician and trampolinist... whatever it takes to meet the needs of [the] kids."
Although she said becoming a carer was not for everyone, it was worth getting in touch with organisations to see if it could be the right fit.
Below are the options to provide care:
- Respite care is scheduled weekends or days which allow full time carers a break.
- Emergency care is to provide care to a child to ensure their safety or following a family crisis. They are often placed with carers without the usual planning and outside of office hours, late at night or on weekends.
- Short term care is for children who may need care for a short period of time, ranging from a few days to a few weeks, prior to being reunified with their families or whilst a longer-term care arrangement is being organised.
- Long term care is for children who are not able to be reunified with their families. This may be until the circumstances of their families change, or until they exit the out of home care system, generally at 18 years of age.
- Specialist therapeutic care involves caring for a child with high needs, such as disabilities or complex medical or developmental trauma needs.
Many organisations are responsible for foster care in Tasmania but visit www.communities.tas.gov.au/children/oohc/foster-care to make a start.
Sign up to one of our newsletters: