The generosity and dedication of foster and family carers is being recognised during WA Foster Carers Week which runs from 15 to 21 August.
The State Government is celebrating the vital role of foster carers with events and activities throughout the week to recognise carers at twenty regional district offices across Western Australia.
Foster and family carers play a vital role in the community by keeping children and young people safe and giving them opportunities to thrive.
There are currently 5094 children in care in WA, with foster and family carers providing a home for the vast majority of these children. 2366 households provide love and support through foster or family care arrangements, often to more than one child.
In recognition of the vital role foster carers play in supporting children in out-of-home care, the State Government is extending a grant agreement for the OurSPACE: Foster and Family Carer Support program to June 2023.
OurSPACE is a free State-wide program delivered by the Australian Childhood Association. The $640,000 grant provides specialist therapeutic counselling and support services for Department of Communities’ carers which in turn, enhances the long-term stability of care arrangements where children have heightened support needs.
To date, OurSPACE has worked with a total of 117 carers, in person and through telephone and videocalls. This easy to access support is helping strengthen the relationship between carers and the children they care for.
Specialised training is provided for all prospective carers who are assessed as suitable to become foster carers. Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer or receiving more information about foster care options is encouraged to visit the Department of Communities’ website or call 1800 182 178 for more information.
As stated by Child Protection Minister Simone McGurk:
“Children in care have sadly often lived through a range of traumatic experiences and the role that foster carers play in helping them recover and thrive cannot be underestimated.
“They take children into their hearts and homes and help them heal from trauma, abuse, and neglect, and provide them the care they need to grow, develop, and reach their potential.
“Foster and family carers are ordinary people who step up and choose to make a difference for some of the most vulnerable children in our community – providing much-needed stability and security, and a positive experience of family life.
“I am proud to support carers through the continuation of funding for the OurSpace program which provides counselling services to help them continue caring for young people with complex needs.
“Through providing a responsive care system, we will provide the best outcomes for children in care.”