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Building a safe home for siblings acknowledged

Building a safe home for siblings acknowledged

A commitment to build a house to keep siblings together has seen one of Victoria’s leading builders recognised by OzChild for their generous support.

Boutique Homes, part of the ABN Group, was presented with the 2017 President’s Award for Corporate Sponsor of the Year at the charity’s recent Gala.

OzChild works with more than 6,000 children and young people with the aim of providing them a better future. The annual President’s Award recognises a corporate supporter who has made a significant contribution in support of our Mission.

Boutique Homes has partnered with OzChild to build a five-bedroom house in the Tulliallan estate in Cranbourne North as part of OzChild’s Let’s Stay Together program.

The house has been designed to keep a sibling group safe and together in a family home – and is the first of its kind for OzChild.

OzChild President Helen Maxwell-Wright recently visited the house to personally present the award to site manager Peter Jones.

“I was overwhelmed during my visit.  A lot of thought has gone into the design to meet the needs of a group of vulnerable children and their accredited carer,” Ms Maxwell-Wright said.

“With five bedrooms, three bathrooms, a big pantry for growing children and open space for playtime, this extremely generous project by Boutique Homes will help change the lives of a family of foster children.

Ms Maxwell-Wright said unfortunately many children are separated from their brothers and sisters when they go into care because foster carers often don’t have the space to take them all.

“This house will become a great family home with loads of space, great layout, and tons of natural light,” she said.

“There are many spaces where the siblings can be together; but there is also plenty of room if they want some time away from each other. There is also room if the carer has their own children.”

An avid cook, Ms Maxwell-Wright loved the kitchen, especially the huge walk-in pantry and space for a large fridge!

“I am sure there will be plenty of fun at meal times – the kitchen and meals area are perfect for a big family,” Ms Maxwell-Wright said.

Boutique Homes’ partnership with OzChild is part of a significant charity program run by the ABN Group. The ABN Foundation has raised over $8.1million for worthwhile causes in Australia since it was established in 2006.

All donations from OzChild’s winter appeal and the proceeds from Gala will be used to turn the house into a home, filling it with furniture, whitegoods, toys, food and everything else growing children need in their home.

If you would like to help OzChild turn the Boutique Homes house into a home for a group of siblings make a donation today!

From the OzChild CEO: NAIDOC Week

From the OzChild CEO: NAIDOC Week

Every year NAIDOC Week gives all Australians the opportunity to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. It is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities, but by Australians from all walks of life.

The theme of this year’s celebration is Our Languages Matter. The focus is on the importance, resilience and richness of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages.

This week will give everyone the opportunity to celebrate the unique and essential role Indigenous languages play in cultural identity, linking people to their land and water and in the retelling of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history, spirituality and rites, through story and song.

Some 250 distinct Indigenous language groups covered the Australian continent at the first European contact in the late eighteenth century. And if you take into account several dialects for each language that means the total number for have run to many hundreds.

I am sad to say today only about 120 of those languages are still spoken and many are at risk of being lost as Elders pass on.

In OzChild’s journey to cultural competence through our Reconciliation Action Plan, we will work with our Aboriginal colleagues, alongside them and seek to learn all we can to support self-determination and ensure that we develop our practices in line with this learning to support and reduce the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care.

We are committed to actively supporting and taking steps towards achieving real reconciliation with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. In understanding the importance of Indigenous languages to their culture we will help to create stronger Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and communities.

During this week there are many events you can attend. Your attendance will demonstrate your support for reconciliation and for those organisations and communities.

 

Find out more about OzChild's Indigenous Services. 

Because of you: Carer Dinner 2017

Because of you: Carer Dinner 2017

Last month over 100 kinship and foster carers joined together at the Southern Golf Club for OzChild’s annual carer dinner.

The event acknowledges and celebrates the invaluable support foster and kinship carers give to over 9000 at-risk children and young people in Victoria each year

Guests were joined by carers and staff from the southern branch of the Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency (VACCA) and representatives from the Foster Care Association of Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services.

Recognising the significant contribution foster carers and kinship carers make to Australian children, young people, families and the wider community, OzChild Chief Executive Officer, Lisa Griffiths paid tribute to the carers.

“Carers are the driving force of OzChild’s vision to ensure all children are safe, respected, nurtured and reach their full potential,” Ms Griffiths said.

“And because of these amazing people who open their homes and hearts to children and young people at risk, they have a place to call home, a family to depend on, and all the love and encouragement they need to thrive.”

OzChild, VACCA and DHHS staff

With some carers marking milestones of 10, 15 and 30 years of foster care, the evening was a chance to connect with other carers, share stories and enjoy a child-free night out of the house.

Well-known Australian comedian and performer Colin Lane had the room in fits of laughter and some very brave participants dancing on the stage!

A highlight of the dinner each year is the awarding of the prestigious Elizabeth Tudor and JC Butler prizes. Given in memory of the proud legacies of their namesakes, the recipients demonstrate selflessness and extraordinary commitment to helping children and young people reach their potential.

Lisa Griffiths and OzChild President Helen Maxwell- Wright presented the 2017 Elizabeth Tudor Award to Joan Graham. Providing foster care for over three decades and supporting more than 300 children in short-term and long-term placements, Joan was a popular recipient.

For Joan, the children and their needs always come first whether it be welcoming sibling groups into her home to keep them together, or recruiting them to help her run sausage sizzles for the Lion’s Club.

Joan has formed life-long relationships with many of her former foster children, staying in contact with her. Joan also provides support to her fellow foster carers through the Foster Care Focus Group and is a Carer Buddy to new foster carers.

The 2017 recipient of the JC Butler award for kinship care was Jane Ross.

Jane became a kinship carer in 2013 to her two grandchildren, both of whom have significant disabilities and medical issues. Jane has worked extremely hard to ensure her grandchildren have a support network of carers and medical professionals around them, fighting for their right to education and funding.

June is also a valued member of the Kinship Carer Support Group.

L-R: CEO Lisa Griffiths, foster carer Joan Graham, Board President Helen Maxwell-Wright
L-R: Lisa Griffiths, kinship carer Jane Ross, Board member Dr Angela Williams

Become a foster carer with OzChild.

Find out more about OzChild's kinship care services.

House will be a safe haven for siblings

House will be a safe haven for siblings

OzChild has joined forces with leading Australian builder, Boutique Homes, to build a 32 square home in Melbourne’s South East to allow siblings to stay together.

As part of OzChild’s Let’s Stay Together program, the house will become home for siblings who might otherwise be separated and their carer.

Chief Executive Officer of OzChild Lisa j. Griffiths says she is thrilled to be partnering with Boutique Homes in this project which will enable OzChild to support a sibling group who would otherwise have to be split up.

“Often when siblings are put into the care of a foster family they are unable to stay together. OzChild works extremely hard to keep families together and this purpose-built house will allow us to just that,” Lisa said.

“It is a wonderful commitment by Boutique Homes to make this house as beautiful as a display home and it will really give the children and young people in our care hope, dignity and the chance to shine.”

Located in Cranbourne North, the five bedroom, three bathroom home currently under construction will allow the siblings to enjoy plenty of green open spaces, parks and walking and bike trails.

It is also close to a number of state schools, and is only a short drive from Berwick Village and shopping precincts. Leisure facilities nearby include the Cranbourne Botanic Gardens, Cranbourne Golf Course, Sweeney Reserve and Casey Fields for bike rides or a kick of the football.

Aidan Hooper, Managing Director of ABN Group Victoria said the company was excited to be working with OzChild on this project.

“We are extremely proud Boutique Homes has committed to building a foster home to provide care for children and young people who are experiencing a difficult time in their lives,” Aidan said.

“As a business, we recognise the importance of siblings staying together and supporting OzChild in this way will help brothers and sisters stay safe, and stay together. By giving these young children a safe home, we can give back to the community and we’re excited to be able to do so.

“We have encouraged our staff to be part of this initiative, with the team holding fundraising activities to help raise a portion of the funds towards this important project.

“We have also had generous contributions and support from our valued supplier partners and trades, who we look forward to working with to deliver a quality new home to our friends at OzChild.”

The house is expected to be ready for its new family in late September.

The partnership with OzChild is part of a significant charity program run by the ABN Group, of which Boutique Homes is part; the ABN Foundation has raised over $8.1million for worthwhile causes in Australia since it was established in 2006.

If you are a corporate wanting to support the work of OzChild please contact Glynis Smalley, Media and Sponsorship on 03 9695 2251 or gsmalley@ozchild.org.au.

Let's Stay Together: Annie's story