When you’re a child in foster care, your foster carer can make all the difference.

33-year-old Jarline Mays from Wyndham Vale was a foster child from the age of seven. In the space of six years Jarline had lived with 13 different families and started at 11 different schools.

Life changed for Jarline when she moved in with foster carer Sandra Kay and her family at 13 years of age.

“I call my home with Sandra my ‘Lucky 13’. She and her family gave me love, care and understanding. Even when times were tough I felt nurtured and safe, and knew I had a home with them regardless,” she said.

“Sandra saw what I was interested in and nourished my artistic side – she gave me someone I wanted to be like when I was older.

“Children in foster care need real love and commitment, and people who believe in their future – this is what Sandra and her family were able to give me. It made an enormous impact on my approach to school and my outlook on life; I started to feel positive.”

Jarline is now mum to five children, she and her partner gained an interim accommodation order for his one and three-year-old sons in October last year.

Becoming involved in the Child Protection system again brought up many difficult emotions for Jarline, but she is pleased she can be a strong and supportive mum to her boys, and someone who knows what they’ve been through.

Jarline is now encouraging would-be foster carers to sign up for a foster care information session as we turn our attention to the start of the school year.

“As foster parents you have the ability to give children an example of an adult they can choose to be. With your support, love and trust, you can help them change their future.”

Anglicare Victoria is looking for new foster carers willing to open their homes to some of Victoria’s most vulnerable children.

Report on Government Services 2020 data released last month reveals that there are now more than 14,000 children and young people currently living in Out-of-Home Care in Victoria.

Paul McDonald, CEO of Anglicare Victoria said: “We’re very keen to see more carer households across Melbourne, there just aren’t enough to service the current demand.

“To ease the current pressure on our foster care programs across the city, Anglicare Victoria would love to see around 120 additional carers sign up to provide homes for children in need.

“At present, we can’t find homes for all the children who are referred to us. We’d love to see more carers willing to open their homes to children, adolescents and sibling groups.

“Carers can be single, de facto or married, with or without their own children. Anyone over 21 years of age who can offer a child in need a secure, loving home, is eligible.

“Over the Christmas period we saw an increased number of children entering care who needed emergency placements. So even if carers can only help out for a weekend, or the odd day here and there, it really does make a difference.”

Learn more about becoming a foster carer with Anglicare Victoria, please book a foster care information session.

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