5th February 2020
Mt Evelyn foster carers, Michelle and Stephen Duke, are both school teachers and have been foster carers for around three-and-a-half years. The couple have always had a desire to help others and wanted to include their three children. The pair have seen first-hand the difference a safe, supportive and loving environment has on a child’s learning and ongoing development.
As teachers Stephen and Michelle have found that there are many aspects of their roles as teachers and carers that overlap and complement each other.
“The training we’ve had through Anglicare has helped us become better teachers. Yes life is busy – as a teacher and as a foster carer, but the two fit together quite well. As a teacher, you learn that by creating healthy boundaries in a classroom, and complimenting these with love and acceptance, kids feel safe, respected and welcome. This is directly transferable to life at home as a carer.”
Being involved in foster care has been beneficial in giving the whole family an opportunity to look outside of themselves and their own problems and see that there are so many people who do life tougher than them.
“It gives us an appreciation for what we have and encourages us to share that with others. Our children’s understanding of the world and what other kids go through has been expanded and hopefully, this helps them become compassionate teenagers, and adults.”
The foster care experience has been incredibly rewarding for Stephen and Michelle as they know they are helping to provide safety, care, love and opportunities to children who may otherwise not be experiencing these things.
“We’ve enjoyed watching our family unite together to do something worthwhile and meaningful that makes a difference. We also have lots of fun, joyous moments with the children in our care, creating happy memories together. The children we look after bring a lot of joy to us and our lives are richer for having looked after them.”
“We really encourage other teachers to sign up for a foster care information session with Anglicare Victoria – as you’ll already have a good understanding of children’s complex needs, you’ll feel well-equipped from the outset!” Michelle and Stephen said.
Anglicare Victoria’s foster carers receive 24-hour on-call support, ongoing training and are reimbursed for any out-of-pocket expenses related to care.