Child Protection Week: 3 benefits of fostering a child

Young child holds hands with two adults

In September, Samaritans recognises Child Protection Week, an initiative which encourages the community to think about how we can work together to keep children safe from child abuse and neglect, while rebuilding relationships between children and their birth families.

There are plenty of things we can do everyday to help keep children safe, including:

  • Looking out for all children – not just your own
  • Being a good role model for all children
  • Taking the time to listen to what kids have to say
  • Learning about services available that can help children in need
  • Not judging other parents and families – we’re all trying our best

However, one of the most valuable things you can do for a child in need is become a foster carer. Foster carers support families by caring for children while birth parents get the help they need to change.

Foster care isn’t just for social workers and super heroes. If you’ve got a big heart, love children, and have room to spare in your home for someone in need, foster care could be a life changing opportunity.

Want to know more? We’ve collected some of the top benefits of foster care to encourage you to open your heart and do your part this Child Protection Week. Read on.

#1. You’ll be giving a child a safe, nurturing environment to grow up in

From 2016-2017, 1 in 32 children in Australia received child protection services. Of these children, 45% suffered at the hands of emotional abuse in the home.

While around half of these children were put into the care of their grandparents, the other half became wards of the state, needing safe, loving homes until their families had worked through their problems.

Foster carers can provide a nurturing environment for these children to grow up in – somewhere safe where they can do normal kid stuff, like playing with friends, going to school, and focus on learning more each and every day.

Becoming a foster carer isn’t without its challenges – these children have often been through traumatic events and have had to leave their families, their houses, and even their schools. They’re probably feeling scared, angry, and confused, but you can provide support to help them manage their emotions and feel safe at home.

#2. You can create a relationship that lasts a lifetime

Giving a child a safe home creates a close relationship you never knew you needed. Your household might turn upside down for a while, but the child you foster will become a part of the family, and will also become a life long friend.

One of our long term foster carers never realised how foster caring would change their life.

“We fostered a young man for ten years; there were lots of challenges but also lots of laughter and love,” he said.

“As a family we would not change that experience for the world – we all grew as people and this special young man will always be in our hearts as one of the family.”

Another of our foster carers, Terrie Newell, raised a girl from the age of 12 who is still a part of her life. Listen to Terrie’s stories about foster care:

Taking on a foster child can be challenging, but it’s a rewarding experience that can change the life of a child in need. Take the first step this Child Protection Week to offer local children support – contact Samaritans.

#3. You’ll have support from a range of resources including Samaritans

At Samaritans, we offer a wide range of child protection services including foster care for children throughout New South Wales. We’re always looking for loving foster carers who have a room to spare for a child in need… and this Child Protection Week, that foster carer could be you.

Some children are in need of care for a few days, others months, and some stay in care with their foster family until they’re 18 and beyond. Alongside Samaritans, the Australian Government is providing support for new foster carers via the Permanency Support Program which was rolled out in July 2018.

The program is a government reform to child protection and foster care practices. It supports the well-being and positive life outcomes for children in the child protection system throughout New South Wales.

The reform includes a broader focus on guardians, foster carers and adoptive parents, offering statewide recruitment, training, income and support.

As well as supporting the restoration and preservation of relationships with the birth parents/families, the Permanency Support Program will also raise awareness about the different roles foster carers can take on while supporting vulnerable children.

If you decide to become a foster carer, know that you’re not alone in the process. Samaritans is here to support foster carers from counselling to training and guidance.

Play your part this Child Protection Week and consider becoming a foster carer 

Around 32,600 children in Australia experience out-of-home care for more than two years. These children need a safe, loving environment to grow up in, even if it’s for a couple of days.

Show your support for the safety of children this Child Protection Week. Consider becoming a foster carer in New South Wales – there’s tonnes of support for foster carers and adoptive families, plus we can provide training on child care to ensure your foster child is getting the best care possible.

You could change a child’s life by becoming a foster carer.

Get in touch with the team from Samaritans about becoming a foster carer. We can provide resources and training to help you get started.