Feedback from OzChild’s carer focus groups and a group of proactive carers have seen the establishment of a Carer Ambassador Program.
Carers Andrea Failla, Lisa Fothergill and Genevieve Meyer had been actively running events in their own community promoting the need for more foster carers. This prompted the need for more resources and support that OzChild could provide and the seed of the idea of the inaugural Carer Ambassador Program was planted.
OzChild Carer Recruitment Team Leader Maggie Morgan said the program was developed in response to the organisations passionate carers.
“Many of our carers were putting in extra effort to reach the wider public about the importance of supporting children in out of home care so we thought an ambassador program was the perfect way OzChild could support them,” Ms Morgan said.
Ms Morgan and Marketing and Recruitment Officer Andrew Duong have been planning the 12-month pilot program with staff and carers over the past six months. The program aims to provide training, structure and support to the carers who have put their hands up to become an ambassador.
Carer Ambassador Paul Magno has been excited to share his carer journey out in the wider community.
“Life is a gift and I personally feel a sense of responsibility to care and advocate for children at risk, and give them a future and a hope,” Mr Magno said.
Ms Morgan said the first group of ambassadors were extremely enthusiastic having already held several information events.
“The ambassadors have been very active since March and have many more activities planned for the remainder of the year. They have also been supported by other amazing OzChild carers at ambassador led events in the community,” Ms Morgan said.
“The goal of the ambassadors is to increase awareness about foster care and ultimately find more carers to meet the growing numbers of children in out of home care.
“They add the human face of a carer and are able to answer questions from their own experiences when they are at community events.
“The results of the Ambassador Program have been really pleasing with more than 15 foster care enquiries being connected to our Ambassador’s efforts and potentially even more.”
The initial group of Carer Ambassadors are Rose-Marie Osborn, Tracey Kelly, Joshua Osborn, Paul Magno, Anna Scerri, Kathryn Gearon, Glenda Quinn, Belinda Perrin, Genevieve Meyer and Joan Graham.
Look out for upcoming Ambassador events here.