Meet Foster Carer, Tracy

Meet OzChild Foster Carer, Tracy

Tracy is a single mother with two biological children of her own. Tracy also cares for a young person full-time and provides respite to several children in OzChild’s foster care program in Melbourne’s west.

Tracy’s mum had been a foster carer for 25 years which meant Tracy grew up with lots of extra young people in the family home.

When her mum was diagnosed with cancer Tracy and her kids moved in to care for her.

“At that time mum was caring for Zoe*, when she passed away in 2019, I was assessed and accredited to provide ongoing care to Zoe so she could stay in the home and have stability,” says Tracy.

That was a year ago and since then Tracy has also taken on the role of a respite carer to a number of children in the OzChild program, in addition to being a full time carer to Zoe and her own two children.

Providing respite care is a really easy way to make a big difference in the lives of many. For starters it gives full time carers an opportunity to take a short break, with the child or young person being placed in respite care for one weekend a month, during school holidays or when required.

For the child or young person, it provides a ‘second’ home, also giving them some time out and a chance to spend time with another carer or family, building relationships and connections with others.

While Tracy grew up in a house with foster children, and she understands that placements might come and go, there is still a tinge of sadness when she thinks about saying goodbye.

“Not knowing if a respite placement will continue on an ongoing basis with a child, and with the young person in my care I often worry that I might get too attached, which I do easily, that is certainly the most challenging part of being a carer.”

Tracy says it’s the small things that she really loves about being a carer. The heart melting moments like, seeing their smiling faces, and how much they grow, and of course knowing how much they love spending time with her and the family.

“I had a little boy come to me recently for respite and he asked if we could stay in our PJ’s and have a PJ day. It is the little things to these children that warms my heart. It makes me feel like I am helping them smile and feel safe and secure,” says Tracy.

Tracy’s wish for young Australians is a simple one, “that they all have someone to care and love them and to provide them with a safe house. Individually I wish that they never feel alone, and they feel that someone has their back. That everyone has someone and some place to provide them with support, guidance, care and love.”

And for anyone considering becoming a foster carer, Tracy has just one piece of advice.

“Absolutely just do it! The satisfaction, love, personal growth and joy you get from knowing that you are making a difference to someone’s world is life changing. Fostering is life changing.”

*Names have been changed to protect identities

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