How can Christian communities support foster care?

The Challenge:

Many of us may be familiar with an older style of foster care, where children were moved many times between their birth family and various foster care families. However, the new model of foster care in Australia has changed to focus on an initial period of assessment for a child’s family, during which a long-term arrangement is decided.

This model, while increasing positive outcomes for children, has greatly escalated the need for short-term carers who can help during this assessment period (months – 2 years).  From October – December 2021 alone, Anglicare Sydney received 385 referrals for children needing short-term care.

Lynn Kay, Carer Recruitment Team Leader, says “It’s not unusual to receive 20 requests in one day [for short-term care].  Anglicare is well equipped to support these children – but we need more carers to be able to offer them safe homes.”

The Solution:

Someone like you!

You and your church or school community could be part of the solution and might be able to respond by:
– praying for the children and families in your community who are in foster care
– being aware of carers in your social circles and community groups and discreetly asking them how you may be able to provide support
– helping Anglicare Foster Care team to host an ‘info night’ at your church or school
– enquiring about being a foster carer with Anglicare and the different types of foster care available.

Ask your church or school to consider:
– including prayer for foster children and families, and for Anglicare’s Foster Care Team, within your church’s prayer diary
– dedicating a time in one of your church’s services or school parents’ meetings to promote the need for Foster Carers, including playing a video
– placing posters and flyers on your information table, reception area or including an item in your newsletter
– inviting a Foster Care team member to present at your staff meeting about how your team can support foster children and their foster families
– host a foster care information night

Meet Merryn and Andrew – Short-term Foster Carers.

Frequently asked questions:
What sorts of people typically make good carers?

Anglicare’s experienced Foster Care Team have found that people who have worked with children, those who are allied health professionals, people who are patient, open and flexible, and people with the time to intensively care, all make great foster carers, especially for our short-term foster care program (for up to 2 years). Carers often need to show compassion for birth families while permanent plans are set in place in the court system.

How does Anglicare Sydney support foster carers?

Each foster family is allocated a case manager who provides support and supervision to the carers through regular home visits and phone calls. Our clinical specialist team can provide more intensive supports, and referrals can be made to specialist services according to the needs of each case. There is an after-hours service for crisis/emergency situations. There are carer workshops, courses and social events with other carers during the year.

What are some of the outcomes for children who are cared for by Anglicare Foster Carers?

In 2021, children cared for by Anglicare Foster Carers had improved outcomes:
– 46% demonstrated improvements in education
– 71% had improved social connections
– 50% experienced improvements in their relationship with their birth parents
– 53% experienced an improvement in their overall wellbeing.
(Source: Anglicare Annual Survey Report 2021)

How can Christian communities be part of the solution?

In 1 Corinthians 12, Paul taught that every Christian makes up the body of Christ, each bringing their own unique spiritual gifts.  This applies equally within the realm of foster care.  Some families have been considering foster care for some time, and Anglicare is here to support them.  However, each of us within the body of Christ can still play our part to support carers, children and their families.

If you’re interested in more information about hosting or attending an information event, or beginning your foster care journey with Anglicare Sydney please call (02) 9890 6800 or visit us at anglicare.org.au/fostercare