Turning a house into a home for siblings and carers
A purpose-built house dedicated entirely to accommodating vulnerable siblings and their carers is nearing completion, and will be furnished thanks to OzChild’s generous supporters.
The five-bedroom North Cranbourne residence, to be completed before Christmas, is part of OzChild’s Let’s Stay Together program, and is a partnership between OzChild and Australian builder, Boutique Homes.
Donations will allow children who have been exposed to trauma begin a more settled life in a well-appointed new home.
We know from decades of experience that, when siblings are put into the care of a foster family, they are often unable to stay together. It’s extremely difficult to find relatives or foster carers who are in the position to take on more than one child at a time.
For many children, however, their brothers and sisters are their closest friends, staunchest allies and, in some cases, the only people they can still trust in the world.
One such group of siblings is the Kovac family (not their real surname), four boys and a girl, the oldest of whom was just 15 years old when OzChild first got in touch with them about two years ago.
They hadn’t been able to live with either of their parents and they’d experienced repeated rejections from multiple families, moving from one temporary solution to the next – never making lasting friendships, never feeling safe. The kids didn’t know about things that many of us would take for granted, such as how to use a knife and fork or basic principles of hygiene.
They’ve suffered in many ways.
In partnership with the police, OzChild was able to locate a family member willing to care for all five children. It is extremely rare to find a carer with the capacity to care for more than one child. The Kovacs were very lucky.
Staying together after years of trauma has made an inestimable difference to their lives. After abuse, neglect or witnessing family violence, children need to heal. That healing experience can be so much more rewarding when it’s done alongside siblings.
It’s so important for children like the Kovacs, who’ve always been there for each other, who’ve always had each other’s backs, and who, for almost their entire lives, have never had anybody else they could depend on, to stay together. Those five children are now thriving.
The aim of the project is to build a home large enough to comfortably accommodate not only close family members, but foster or kinship carers who might otherwise not have been able to care for a large group of children.
Our Let’s Stay Together program works extremely hard to keep brothers and sisters under the same roof. This house will make that job so much easier. It will accommodate a foster carer at a very low cost, and that will make it possible for them to devote the energy required to what is a challenging and incredibly important job.
The construction of the house has already been funded but, at the moment, there is nothing but the bare basics – carpets and fittings – to go inside. This fundraising campaign aims to raise money for small home appliances, furniture, white goods, curtains, gardening supplies, toys and more.
There’s a difference between a house – a physical structure – and a home – a place where a child grows up; a place someone looks back on fondly as an adult. This fundraising effort is about helping turn this house into a home.
Our ultimate aim is to not just keep children together, but to also set them up for success so that they can realise their dreams.
If you can help in any way, our team at OzChild and the sibling groups you help keep together will be sincerely grateful for your life-changing gift.
It’s easy to donate to the Let’s Stay Together program
All donations over $5 are tax deductible. OzChild is an accredited ATO approved charity.