Meet OzChild Foster Carer,
This week is Foster Care Week in Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia, so we thought we would introduce you to some of our amazing foster carers.
Sometimes we are destined for something great in life. When Leonie had to give up her job due to an injury and stay home, she came across an advertisement in the local newspaper about being a foster carer. As someone who enjoys the company of children and strongly believes in making a difference in the world, Leonie decided to give fostering a chance.
“I enjoy the children and I feel a personal need to have little ones around me. I’ve always believed we are on this earth for a purpose, and I need to make my place on earth worthwhile. I want to leave a legacy behind.”
Since then, Leonie has opened her home to hundreds of children and young people for 39 rewarding years and has provided a loving and nurturing environment for each of them.
During her early years as a carer, her own children were also part of her incredible journey. Now that her children have grown up, Leonie continues to care for and provide for vulnerable children and young people in the community in need of a loving family.
“My foster children are with me 24/7, and they are part of everything I do and my family. I bond with all the children; once they are in my door, they are my children, and I advocate hard for them.”
While caring for children is a rewarding journey, foster caring has its challenges and it’s no secret that every parent needs help from time to time. It was connecting with fellow foster carers and knowing that they had each other to help through the journey that kept Leonie going.
“There are a few carers who I’m close to, and they have become close friends over the years, and I am also a buddy to new carers, there is always something to learn from other carers no matter how long you’ve been caring for.”
Throughout her years as a carer, Leonie has learned that many children and young people who come into care have likely suffered trauma which can lead to challenging behaviours, that’s why she offers this sound advice to anyone who is thinking of becoming a foster carer, “do not take what these children say or do personally, they don’t have control over where they are in life.”
As a long-serving foster carer, Leonie admits that being a foster carer is an extraordinary role and offering life-changing support to children and young people who are facing vulnerability brings happiness to her life. “I get a lot of self-satisfaction out of caring for these children,” says Leonie.
It takes all types of people to care for all kinds of children and at OzChild we welcome all carers. It doesn’t matter which race, religion, or ethnic background you belong to, or whether you are single, married, young or older, with or without kids, in a same-sex relationship, retired, or working. None of these affect a person’s eligibility to become a foster carer.
All we need is for you to be over the age of 21 and have secure accommodation and appropriate space to provide a safe, loving, and nurturing home for a vulnerable child.
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