Albany family share rewards of opening their home and hearts to foster children
An Albany mother and her daughter who have been caring for foster children for close to a decade are encouraging other families to step up for children in need of a safe home — a decision they say has changed their lives for the better.
In WA, 5300 children or young people are receiving care through general or family care arrangements across 1800 foster care households when they are no longer able to stay in their homes.
At 26, Georgia has been a foster carer for most of her adult life and did not have to look far to see the benefits of opening her home and heart to children in need.
Her mother Fran has cared for 10 children over the past decade through short and long-term placements, and is raising three young boys she has cared for since they were babies until they turn 18.
Georgia and husband Lewis, who is a relative of the children, are caring for a young girl who Fran first took into care as a baby.
“I was about 16 when Mum started, and seeing the process and meeting the kids and seeing what they are like and what they’ve been through — I knew that’s what I wanted to do,” she said.
“I moved out of home and we had a discussion with the Department of Communities about what would be best for her because we had become so attached, and I became a carer — she has been with me ever since.”
Fran said she had always wanted to be a foster carer.
“There’s heaps of positives, too many...I couldn’t imagine life without them,” she said.
“It keeps you young. I get a thrill out of anything they do, anything they achieve.”
Although the children could not live with their close families, Georgia said they were lucky to be able to keep the children connected to family and culture.
“I think that’s been important as well as the fact that Lewis is Noongar, and having a male role model in the family that they can see and feel familiar with,” Georgia said.
She said although caring for children who had faced trauma could be a challenge, support was never far away
“These kids face stuff that I hadn’t dealt with until I was an adult and they face it in the first five to 10 years of their life,” she said.
“To see them come out through all that and be the way they are ... that’s a good feeling that you know you are setting them up to be the best versions of themselves.”
Fran encouraged anyone who had considered becoming a foster parent to reach out for more information.
Visit the DoC website or phone 1800 182 178.
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