The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) is using National Families Week to highlight the urgent need in NSW for more families to help vulnerable children find permanency in safe, loving homes by becoming emergency, respite or restoration carers, or by considering open adoption from care.
More than 60 children enter out-of-home care across NSW every week because they cannot live safely at home. Many are suffering neglect or abuse due to their parents’ incapacity to properly care for them because of mental ill-health, substance abuse, domestic abuse, poverty or the effects of intergenerational trauma.
ACWA CEO Andrew McCallum, who is an Ambassador for this week’s National Families Week (May 15-21), says growing up in a safe, loving family is the most important gift a child can have in their life.
“While every child deserves to have the protection, warmth and stability of family, unfortunately not all parents are able to fulful this most fundamental of human needs,” Mr McCallum said.
“This is why it is critical our community has a strong pool of carers who are able to step in and fill the void, either by providing a place of healing and hope until the child can be reunited safely with their own family, or creating for them a permanent family through open adoption or guardianship.”
NSW’s new Permanency Support Program links vulnerable children to strong carer families in the community. For people interested in becoming a carer, there are many pathways to follow and different ways to help.
A short period of time in a loving family environment can make a vital difference in the lives of vulnerable children and young people. However, for those children who will never be able to return home, they need to have the opportunity to be part of a loving family not just until they leave care at 18, but for the rest of their lives.
There is also a desperate need for Aboriginal families who are willing to care, nurture and keep the cultural heritage of Aboriginal children alive.
No matter which type of care is being provided, the prevailing aspiration for those with space in their hearts and homes is to provide children the love, security and healing they need to thrive.
People interested in finding out more about becoming a foster carer can visit the Fostering NSW website: www.fosteringnsw.com.au or call 1800 236 783.
The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies is the peak body for out-of-home care agencies in NSW.
Fostering NSW is a partnership between the NSW Government and non-government out-of-home care agencies and is managed by ACWA.
To arrange an interview with ACWA CEO Andrew McCallum please contact:
M: 0418 659 525
To arrange an interview with a foster carer please contact:
Elise Hawthorne – EXPOSURE Communication
P: 0413 363 232