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Today marks the start of National Families Week (15-21 May) and CareSouth is highlighting the urgent need for more families to help vulnerable children find permanency in safe, loving homes.

We need families across NSW to become emergency, respite or restoration carers who work with birth families to get children back home. We also need foster carers who will consider the open adoption of those in care.

CareSouth foster carer Tarriann is a single mum, has a teenage son and works full-time running a child care centre in the Shoalhaven. Despite her busy life she found time to become a respite carer almost four years ago.

It was decision which changed her and her son’s life for the better. Tarriann is currently a carer for a young boy every three weeks, but has welcomed four families into her home as a respite carer.

“I find being a carer so rewarding,” she said. “I did it to make my life and my son’s life richer. We needed it as much as the children needed carers. My son had to learn to share things; people, places and time. And the children in our care needed someone to spend time with them, to try and understand who they are, to listen to them and adapt to their needs.

“The benefits have been emotionally rewarding for everyone,” said Tarriann. “I tell everyone I come across to just do it, become a foster carer. There are so many different roles you can play, who doesn’t have one weekend a month to make a difference to a child’s life?”

More than 60 children enter Out-of-Home Care across NSW every week because they cannot live safely at home. Many are suffering neglect or abuse due to their parents’ incapacity to properly care for them because of mental ill-health, substance abuse, poverty, domestic abuse or the effects of intergenerational trauma. NSW’s new Permanency Support Program links vulnerable children to strong carer families who can provide both short and long-term care to help children and their families turn their lives around.

For people interested in becoming a carer, there are many different ways to help said Tracy Mayo, CareSouth’s Regional Manager Southern NSW and ACT.

“We’re forging new pathways into how we work,” said Tracy who is overseeing CareSouth’s out-of-home care and permanency support programs. “What I hope for is more collaborative work in the area of guardianship and permanency planning pathways. I’m really focused on how we can best support children and families to be together safely. It’s a different solution and support plan for every family and I really believe that it is in the best interests of a child to be connected to their family.”

Along with highlighting the need for more foster families, Families Week is an opportunity to recognise the important role of our foster families in the community. CareSouth will be celebrating Families Week with a number of activities for our foster families across our regional footprint. Some of our inspiring foster carers will also be sharing their stories on CareSouth’s website, our social media pages, the radio and in their local newspapers.

If you are interested in finding out more about fostering, please contact our team for a chat on 1300 554 260 or visit our website at caresouth.org.au

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