Meet Kith Carer – Andi

Getting to make a real difference in another person’s life is an incredible act. As kith carers Andi and her husband Daniel, along with their two children have been making a difference in Harry’s* life for the past year and a half.

“We have known Harry for a while, we knew he had been placed in out-of-home care but when that fell through and he needed somewhere local to live so he could continue to attend the same school he asked if he could live with us.

“That was an enormous honor, he chose us, so we didn’t take the request lightly,” says Andi.

Harry needed a place to call home and Andi and her family knew they couldn’t say no.

Andi and Daniel are just two of hundreds of kith carers across Victoria. Often when a child or young person has no family they can live with, a family friend, a teacher or a neighbor selflessly takes on the role of carer.

Andi’s son Tim* had become friends with Harry through after school activities. It was while car-pooling the kids to drama classes that Andi got to know Harry well and understand his circumstances.

“We love Harry, he has added another dynamic to our household. For us, this has been a big positive. We have shifted from a family of four to five and we are a much more harmonious family unit than we ever were before.

“All that Harry brings with him, his extended family members, we love the whole package, not just him but everything that comes with him.” smiles Andi.

Of course, it’s not all smooth sailing. Harry’s emotional needs due to past trauma is something Andi and Daniel continue to support and understand will be an ongoing need for him into the future.

During the past 18 months the family have adapted well, and Harry is now well and truly part of the family.

“Initially we were all tip toeing around each other a little bit as we tried to make Harry feel welcome and safe. We also made a conscious effort to help his extended family feel comfortable with his choice to live with us too.

“Since his arrival Harry’s extended family have become a valued new part of our family. Within about six weeks of him moving in it was his birthday, so we planned a family celebration incorporating his extended family and our extended family. It was a chance for everyone to start getting to know each other which was a fantastic experience and had a very positive outcome,” remembers Andi.

“Since then we have stopped treading on eggshells and Harry has very much become a stable fixture in the family unit. He is a funny, intelligent, complex and loving person and we feel very happy to have him in our family.”

Andi’s wish for young Australians is clear when you consider the caring role she has taken on with Harry.

“I hope that every child and young person has the experience of feeling loved and safe and has the opportunity to fulfill their potential.”

*Names have been changed to protect identities

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