THE demand for foster care in Gippsland has hit critical levels, with 30 school-aged children in urgent need this month.
Anglicare Victoria desperately needs to place the children in foster homes to avoid their relocation outside the local area.
Regional director Jane Anderson said a big move could add to the trauma the children may have already suffered.
“It’s an upheaval at a crucial time in their young lives, it means leaving their community, changing schools, farewelling family and friends,” Ms Anderson said.
The children are currently in temporary and respite accommodation arrangements.
Anglicare Victoria is the state’s largest out-of-home care provider, and on any given night cares for 51 children in the Gippsland region, working with 47 caregiving households.
Ms Anderson said school-aged children and teens often had a lower chance of being fostered.
She said some teenagers might have had a difficult journey.
“Some have grown up fast, without enjoying a childhood – or have taken on responsibility early in life, looking after siblings and parents,” Ms Anderson said.
“But people can sometimes underestimate how much teenagers just need love and support, we know they actually respond extremely well to a stable environment.
“That’s why our highly experienced team provides extensive training and resources, to ensure every caregiver has every opportunity to witness the improvements in a young person over time.”
Ms Anderson said Anglicare Victoria offered all caregivers 24-hour, on-call support.
“The young person in your care will have their own case manager, while one of our experienced team members will also support you as a carer,” she said.
“Local foster carers can be people who’ve tree-changed, retired, married, single, in a same-sex relationship, work full-time or study.
“Fostering is hard work. There are meetings, contact visits and you’ll be required to write a diary for the child.
“But you can picture yourself giving a loving home to a young person, we want to assure you, we will support you every step of the way.”
For more information about foster care phone Anglicare Gippsland on 5133 9998 or email email@example.com