OzChild foster carer Helen Fox is passionate about creating a community of support for carers, it’s her way of ensuring carers don’t feel like they are alone.
“I started my foster care journey with OzChild way back in May 1987 and more than 30 years later I’m still loving it.
“Even today I still get butterflies when I get a call and think, ‘Oh maybe it’s OzChild!’ That never goes away.”
As well as raising her three biological kids, Helen has provided emergency, short term, long term, and permanent care placements to dozens of children and young people.
Helen is also a big support for fellow foster carers, who appreciate her sense of humour and honesty.
“It is important to build a network of support, and for me that includes other carers. It’s good to attend training and have your case worker available but it is just as important to be able to talk to other carers to share advice and strategies. That’s what I love most about the community we have built, the like-minded people I have to lean on.”
Helen thrives in her busy role, not only as a foster mum but also a ‘foster nana’, often remaining in a child’s life long after they have left her care.
“I like to maintain contact with the kids, if they are returned to their birth parents, or are placed in their forever homes, I believe it’s important for them to know I still care, because I do. It doesn’t have to be forever, just as long as they need.”
Helen has not only formed strong bonds with other carers, she has also built a wonderful relationship with the OzChild team whom she says have provided her with a fantastic level of support from day one.
“I can’t fault OzChild. The level of support I receive is fantastic. Whether it’s day to day support like assistance with transport or help navigating the system, the team are always there for me.”
Helen is an active part of the OzChild carer community, and really enjoys being able to provide support for other carers.
“We can’t change the system, we have to roll with it and do the best we can, and we can’t do it alone, that’s why I make sure I get involved, if there are any planned activities, I go, like the carer pamper days, or coffee catchups and focus groups, it’s important to connect with other carers.”
Helen is just one of hundreds of OzChild carers who have contributed to more than 1 million volunteer hours, caring for some of Victoria’s most vulnerable children.