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.
“Annabelle* was born at just 22 weeks, that was scary. Looking at this tiny little baby I was completely overwhelmed. How was I going to look after her? I didn’t really know how to look after myself, but I did know if me and Toby* didn’t do the SafeCare course she would probably get taken off us, and I did not want that at all”– Natalee* aged 22
For many, parenting comes easily, even naturally, and most have the support of family and friends. But for some, like Natalee, who have faced significant trauma or disadvantage with a limited support network, parenting can be a real struggle. Understanding and knowing how to safely care for a newborn or toddler can be difficult.
Breaking the cycle of disadvantage
Natalee and Toby were identified by child protection before baby Annabelle was born.
Natalee needed support to help her deal with substance use, mental health issues and violence which was occurring between her and Toby. As an adolescent Natalee’s mum was unable to manage her behaviours and alcohol use. Family violence between Natalee and her siblings was frequent and Natalee’s suicide attempt and instances of self-harming worrying.
Every day children are exposed to abuse or neglect, through no fault of their own. Often behaviours of their parents are learned from their own parents, creating a cycle of disadvantage for many. Until programs like SafeCare provide a different path.
Over the coming weeks and months demand for support from vulnerable children, young people and families will increase, we must ensure we can be there.
We desperately need your support, now more than ever before. A tax-deductible donation today will make sure we can be there tomorrow, giving children like Annabelle their chance to shine.
*Names have been changed and models used in imagery to protect the identity of the family
Protecting little ones
OzChild’s SafeCare program is just one of several early intervention and prevention programs we deliver which are focused on keeping families together and kids out of foster care or residential care facilities.
SafeCare addresses the need to improve the parenting skills for parents of children aged 0-5 who are at risk of or have been reported for child neglect or physical abuse.
Every year there are thousands of unborn reports to child protection. Research has shown if a mother is subject to an unborn report her baby has a 28% likelihood of entering out-of-home care before the age of two.
A really sobering reminder of why programs like SafeCare are essential in our quest to keep families safely together.
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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