The Clark Family's Story
Just two days before Christmas while many were preparing to go on holidays and some were still rushing around looking for that perfect present, our foster care team received a call from Child Protection about three siblings aged 16, 13 and 11 who had been living in a shed for the last two months.
Child Protection had been alerted to the circumstances of these three young people and were now frantically looking for a home for them for the holidays.
For two months the 16-year-old had been caring for her siblings, alone. At just 16 years old, this young girl had been getting her brother and sister to and from school every day and had got herself a job in a fish and chip shop to be able to feed them.
Their father had committed suicide several months prior and soon after, their mother just up and left them.
Traumatic circumstances for any child or young person to deal with at the best of times, let alone with no support from family, and nowhere to live.
With the number of children and young people placed in out-of-home care far outweighing the number of foster carers available, our team had their work cut out for them.
Finding carers who can care for sibling groups is challenging.
During the past 12 months close to 50 sibling groups have been referred to OzChild, if foster carers cannot be found to take all siblings, sometimes the only option is to split them up – and nobody wants to see that happen.
Realising the difficulty in staying together the 16-year-old said it didn’t matter what happened to her as long as her siblings could remain together. Imagine, at 16 years old, at Christmas time, having to step up and put your siblings needs ahead of your own.
Last year the OzChild Village of carers was made up more than 300 foster carer households who together provided a safe and nurturing home to over 400 children and young people. Pretty incredible huh!
There is no doubt our foster carers are changing lives, but they can’t do it without a support crew of people like you who make it possible for OzChild to provide the necessary training, provide emotional and practical support and ensure we are there when they need us most, even in the middle of the night!
Thankfully, for these three siblings, the OzChild Village stepped in, understanding the importance of keeping siblings together, especially at Christmas time, and considering the harrowing situation, a selfless, kind-hearted OzChild carer put her hand up to take care of all three siblings – keeping them together over the Christmas and new year period.
An incredible story of kindness, compassion and the difference that can be made when someone cares.
OzChild carers give everything to their caring role, to be able to provide practical and emotional support to them via training, counselling, or the provision of essential items for the kids in their care really is the least we can do.
*names have been changed to protect identities
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