NATIONAL Families Week honours the importance and role of families across the nation but it’s also a time to think about those who don’t have a safe environment to go home to, says ACT Together regional manager Rebecca Jeffery.
During National Families Week, which is running from May 15-21, ACT Together, a Barnardos Australia-led consortium of agencies that provide out-of-home care for children and young people, is calling for people who can open their doors and provide that important care.
One child in every classroom is in need of a safe home, says Ms Jeffery.
“In the ACT there are more than 800 children living in out-of-home care due to issues of abuse or neglect,” she says.
“At any given time we are looking for about 30 long-term foster homes for children, but all different types of care are needed – whether it’s a respite for one weekend a month, or those who are willing to open their homes in a ‘forever’ capacity.”
According to research, Ms Jeffery says one healthy adult relationship can make all the difference for a child.
“Every developing child who winds up doing well has at least one stable and communicative relationship with a supportive adult, and that results in things like finishing university, gaining employment and more,” she says.
There’s also no “one-size-fits-all” when it comes to being a foster parent or carer, she says.
“We have people who are single, partnered, in gay relationships, empty-nesters, people who have got a full family already,” she says.
“The effect of foster parenting is generational. We know that the difference a foster parent makes today might be a legacy that lasts a lifetime.
“It’s not just about the family the child is in now, it’s about the one they’ll also one day create.”
More information at acttogether.org.au