Unsurprisingly, 2020 was one of the busiest years on record for Anglicare Victoria’s foster care program.
Fortunately, the willingness and dedication that our carers are known for triumphed: they learnt the skills required to enable online meetings and opened their hearts and homes to the families of young people in their care. Our foster carers were also supportive in adapting to the ever-changing environment, ensuring that emotional wellbeing was a priority for the children and young people in our foster care programs across the state.
We thank and acknowledge all our foster carers for going above and beyond during these difficult times.
Our carers and staff stepped up in the pandemic.
Anglicare Victoria staff and foster carers worked hard during the pandemic to ensure that each household could remain stable and operational. We provided foster homes with entertainment resources and learning equipment such as laptops, iPads, desks, and board games.
While having children at home added extra pressure for our carers, there was also some good news: many with children who struggle in social situations flourished in the home school environment.
In the second half of 2019/20 Anglicare Victoria’s support staff (with kids of their own at home) demonstrated flexibility by holding meetings in the evening once children were in bed, catering to the individual needs of each foster home. A webpage was set up specifically for foster carers with important COVID-19 information, resources, links to education programs, and support services. Carers also had an opportunity to meet online with other carers via Anglicare Victoria’s Carer Connect, which facilitated group sessions with experts joining in to add support.
Care for the whole family
Despite the challenges of COVID-19, in just over twelve months Jordan* – a young person with significant trauma and emotional challenges – moved from residential care to a foster care placement with her sister. This was made possible because Jordan first spent time at one of Anglicare Victoria’s Enhanced Care Opportunities (ECO) placements. ECO is a specialised foster care placement where the carer and the young person and their family receive individual and family therapy, and intensive support to develop relationships and connections. Through her time at the ECO placement she developed skills to better regulate behaviour, and she was able to develop meaningful relationships with her carers, peers at school, and while building strong and sustainable relationships with her family. When asked about her current foster home she said it was “really, really, really good!” She said that she is “learning new things”, “changing her attitude”, and “trying to be responsible”
Connie, a foster parent, could not thank Anglicare Victoria enough for its support when fire almost took her home in North-Eastern Victoria during the summer bushfires. She was required to remain in her house with the children as the threat was so severe it was too late to safely leave. Our staff member supported closely with phone calls every hour to Connie and the children in her care. When the fires cleared, our staff arranged delivery of supplies. Connie was exhausted but grateful. And the care didn’t stop there: during the hard times of the pandemic, staff delivered pizza, games and puzzles to the house to keep the spirits high and the children busy.