This Foster Care Week we join in the call for carers to be supported with the basics such as birth certificates and Medicare cards, to be unburdened by the financial pressure to pay for health and education expenses that aren’t covered by the care allowance.
OzChild foster carer, Helen Fox OAM – a deserving recipient of the Order of Australia Medal
A big congratulations to OzChild foster carer Helen Fox who was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday 2020 Honours with an Order of Australia for her commitment to supporting children as a foster carer.
Helen has been a foster carer with OzChild since May 1987. Helen knew from a very young age she wanted to help as many kids as she could when she was old enough.
A single mother Helen refers to herself as a “domestic engineer”. More than 30 years on since her foster care journey began, Helen still loves it.
“I’m still at it 32 years later. And I love it. 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 four biological kids, Helen has provided emergency, short term, long term, and permanent placements to dozens of children and young people.
In 2016 Helen was recognised for her commitment to supporting vulnerable children when she was awarded the prestigious Robin Clark Protecting Children Award for her tireless efforts to advocate for children in her care.
Helen is also a big support for fellow foster carers, who appreciate her sense of humour and honesty, and she 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.
Helen works wonderfully well with birth families, developing a beautiful bond which often continues once the children are reunited with their parents or placed with their permanent carers.
Seeing the strengths of the children in her care, doing what she can to help them to develop their passions and skills Helen is focused on ‘getting on with the job’.
Her can-do attitude helps the children and young people in her care to develop valuable life skills and prepare themselves for adulthood – all with warmth and love.
Helen admits being a foster carer can be challenging, but her philosophy is pragmatic.
“All I can do is be supportive. I can’t change everything, so I care for the kids and hope for the best outcome.”
In Victoria, the growth in OOHC is the fastest in the nation – a grim reality for the state which has endured the harshest and longest lockdowns. With more than 45,000 children already in OOHC across Australia, an additional 4,500 children are estimated to enter OOHC because of the pandemic – put simply, we do not have enough carers.
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