Foster Care Week is celebrated in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia from 11-17 September. We are both humbled and amazed by the enormous contribution of our village of carers who open their homes, their hearts and their lives giving back to the community so selflessly.
OzChild Carer Awards 2022
Every year we recognise and acknowledge the commitment and dedication of OzChild carers at our annual carer dinner event and celebrate the incredible life-changing outcomes they achieve.
Across Victoria foster carers provide care for almost 1,700 children on each night of the year, and of the 10,000 children and young people in out-of-home care in Victoria, nearly 7,000 of them are cared for by a relative or family friend.
In their volunteer roles collectively – foster and kinship carers contribute to three million hours of active caregiving each year, something we think is worth celebrating!
On Friday 29 April close to 400 people attended a very special carer dinner event held at the Grand Hyatt in Melbourne. During the night the annual carer awards were announced.
Nominations are received from caseworkers on behalf of OzChild carers for the Elizabeth Tudor Award, Jillian Wain Award, and the JC Butler Award.
It is not surprising, with a Village of carers as strong as ours, nominations for these awards were plentiful.
About the awards
Elizabeth Tudor Award
This award recognises the outstanding dedication and commitment of a foster carer within our In-Home Care program in Southern Melbourne and Gippsland in the spirit of an inspirational lady – Elizabeth Tudor.
Elizabeth passed away early in 2015 and was a Life Member of OzChild. Elizabeth sat on the Board of Melbourne Family Care, one of OzChild’s founding organisations and she had a strong sense of community service, being active in her community for many years during the 20th Century.
The recipients of the 2022 Elizabeth Tudor Award are
Karen and Neil McGovern
Karen and Neil McGovern have been caring for a sibling group of two for the past ten years. During this time they have consistently demonstrated the qualities of Elizabeth Tudor; they are humble, resilient, and passionate advocates, for their kids and for foster care. They have opened their home and their hearts completely and seem to have an endless amount of love to give….
Jillian Wain Award
This award recognises the outstanding dedication and commitment of a foster carer within our In-Home Care program in western Melbourne in the spirit of a great advocate for children and families – Jillian Wain.
Jillian has been involved in foster care since 1975 when she and her husband Greg become foster carers. In 1995 Jill began managing the Melton/Bacchus Marsh Foster Care program for The Salvation Army.
During her time as manager of the foster care program, Jill was a strong advocate for keeping sibling groups together and respecting and supporting birth parents. Jill also strongly advocated for children to remain connected to their culture and family.
The recipient of the 2022 Jillian Wain Award is Leonie Patterson
Leonie has been dedicated to caring for children for more than 30 years, becoming a foster carer in 1983. During this time Leonie has cared for more than 320 children. A strong advocate for children and an incredible supporter of biological family Leonie regards her role as a carer as her vocation in life.
JC Butler Award
This award acknowledges the role of our kinship carers in the spirit of JC Butler, a founding father of OzChild.
JC was very concerned for the changing social mores in Victoria in the 1920s and could see the breakdown of families, not just poverty, was creating a new cohort of children in need.
Understanding the power of family, he lobbied hard to support the establishment of the widow’s pension so mothers could afford to keep children in the home.
The spirt of JC Butler lives on through the work of our organisation and through the wonderful work of our kinship carers. This award recognises a kinship carer who makes sure through their personal effort that kith and kin can be cared for by those closest to them.
The recipient of the 2022 JC Butler Award is Lauren Heard
Lauren is the kinship carer for her younger half brother and has been caring for him for the past four years. Determined to see her brother remain with family rather than enter foster care, Lauren put her hand up to care for him, often going above and beyond what is expected of her, making sacrifices to be the very best carer she can be.
Child maltreatment is a pervasive issue that casts a long, dark shadow over the lives of countless young Australians. It’s a problem that transcends social, economic, and cultural boundaries, leaving a lasting impact on victims and society as a whole.
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