How foster care creates purpose in life for carers
Wagga foster carers Judy and Bernie Hinchcliffe credit their fostering journey with giving them “a real purpose in life”.
The couple became full-time carers for Bernie’s 10-year-old grandson more than a decade ago (known as kinship care). Now 21, he has grown up and moved out, but Judy and Bernie have continued to be long-term, short-term, respite and restoration carers for CareSouth, transitioning over to the organisation in 2019.
“We’ve looked after children aged from 4 to 14 in all different types of caring roles,” said Judy.
“We really like doing this, knowing that we are doing something to help these children and their families. But it has also helped us. After our business folded, we were lost for a little while. These kids have given us a real purpose in life. It keeps us connected with other carers, the school and the wider community.”
So much so that Bernie has become an entrenched part of the local school community, working morning and afternoon shifts as a crossing guard.
“Foster care has brought us so much joy,” said Judy. “It’s not always easy, I won’t kid you. But on the flipside of that are the really lovely moments. This little fella we have now came to us as a very traumatised little boy. He’s been with us for nearly two years now and he’s really started to shine. That’s how we know we’ve done our job.”
CareSouth caseworker Margarette Davis described the couple as “dedicated and caring” foster carers.
“Judy and Bernie are amazing, and I have been privileged to share their foster care role with them since they become CareSouth carers,” said Margarette. “Nothing is ever an issue for them, they always open their door when we have needed them, whether this be just a couple of hours or over nights.”
Judy, Bernie and the Griffith CareSouth team have been working towards restoration for the young boy and his mum. But he will always have a place at the table, along with the couple’s children, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, for family celebrations.
“We are his godparents so will always be there for him, and for his mum; she’s got a big load on her shoulders. His mum’s really keen for us to be in his life and so are we.”
Just like Judy and Bernie, you can show how much you care with foster care and help a child build a better future. To learn more, CareSouth’s friendly team are available via phone 1300 554 260 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.