AUSTRALIAN  PRAYER  NETWORK  NEWSLETTER – AUSTRALIAN NEWS 30th OCTOBER 2013

THE OFFICE OF THE AUSTRALIAN PRAYER NETWORK IS CURRENTLY CLOSED FOR A PERIOD OF 6 WEEKS TO ENABLE STAFF TO UNDERTAKE STRATEGIC PRAYER ASSIGNMENTS IN THE MIDDLE EAST AND TO TAKE A SHORT BREAK AT THE END TO RECOVER FROM THE INTENSE PERIOD OF ACTIVITY IN PRAYER.  PRE-PREPARED EDITIONS OF AUSTRALIAN NEWS WILL CONTINUE TO BE PUBLISHED DURING THIS TIME BUT IN AN ABRIDGED FORM.  AUSTRALIAN NEWS WILL RESUME FULL PUBLICATION ON WEDNESDAY 6th NOVEMBER.

  • CHILDREN OVER FIVE NOT WANTED BY AUSTRALIAN FOSTER CARERS
     

CHILDREN OVER FIVE NOT WANTED BY AUSTRALIAN FOSTER CARERS

Ten year old Rosie can already play the piano and clarinet. Aidan, 6, likes riding his bike and playing sport. And 5 year old Michael loves playing in the park, dancing and drinking baby chinos.  These children, just like another 39,000 in Australia living in and out of home care, are desperately seeking foster families in NSW or the ACT. But providing school-aged children with a permanent and stable home isn’t easy. Australians don’t seem to want foster children that are aged over 5. A spokeswoman for children’s welfare agency Barnardo’s, said many keen foster families automatically dismissed the idea of fostering older children because they assumed they would be harder to manage. 

“But that’s simply not always true, these kids need just as much love and stability as anyone else to really give them a new chance at life,” they said. “Love and care at any age makes a huge difference.”  Barnardo’s has hundreds of children aged over five, who are desperately seeking a permanent home. Barnardo’s aims for stability with 80% of the children they place staying with their first permanent foster family and 90% of the remainder stay with the second. This is a vast improvement on the average number of foster care placements. Change is unsettling for any child but when they’re already vulnerable, this lack of stability can go on to cause irreversible damage.            .

Stevie knows this better than anyone. Ten years ago, the now 20-year-old finally found what she describes as her “forever family”. Natasha Pereira and her husband Brian decided to become permanent foster carers after seeing an advertisement in the local newspaper for the Barnardo’s program. Ms Pereira said, like many people, she and Brian had started out looking for younger children, but when Stevie, then aged nine, came along they jumped at the chance. “We were both young and active and it seemed like a natural progression for us. We were also financially established,” she said. 

“My husband was working full-time and I was working part-time and studying part-time. And because Stevie would be at school during the day, it meant we could carry on with those parts of lives too,” Natasha said. Stevie said it makes her sad that people are reluctant to foster older children. “There are so many kids out there who even tonight won’t have someone to stay with,” she said. “There really is nothing better than knowing you have a permanent place to be. “I was scared to begin with but it just took a couple of times of seeing Mum and Dad (Natasha and Brian) and we just clicked.” 

Stevie even encouraged her parents to foster more children a few years later. She said being at school with other children talking about their brothers and sisters made her realise that she wanted to experience that too. The Pereiras have since permanently fostered, and adopted three other children. The bond between Stevie and the three younger children has continued. Stevie returns home several times a month to have dinner or stay the night.  Ms Pereira said the fostering experience had been the most rewarding of her and Brian’s life and recommended it to anyone looking to start a family of their own. 

“We are just like any other normal family out there,” she said. “And the point is that when you foster older kids you are being part of a generational change. It’s a long-term thing that helps to break the cycle of poverty or abuse or whatever it is that the child has been born into.”  Stevie said any people considering permanent fostering of older children “need to understand that it won’t be all sunshine and rainbows”.  “But there are so many kids that don’t have anywhere to live tonight and I think it’s honestly sad that people won’t foster because they think that the child will cause them problems,” she said.

Source: Barnados Australia