For the last two and half years, Nicole has been a foster carer with Anglicare Victoria’s Eastern Foster Care Program.
Working full-time certainly hasn’t stopped Nicole from being a foster carer. She manages to make it fit with her lifestyle by doing weekend respite and emergency care.
How long have you been a foster carer for?
I became accredited in September 2014. As a respite/emergency foster carer, focusing on the 0 – 2 age group, I’ve been involved with a few different children but have primarily looked after a gorgeous little girl who is nearly 2 years old one weekend per month.
Why did you become a foster carer?
I have always loved spending time with children and worked as a nanny for many years through high school and university. When I started working full time at National Australia Bank (NAB) five and a half years ago, I found that whilst I absolutely love my work, I missed my nannying days and the opportunity to love and care for little ones. I also wanted to do something meaningful to give back to the community and after discovering that you could do foster caring on a respite basis, I applied immediately.
How does it fit in with your lifestyle? What’s it like being a foster carer?
For me, it’s the perfect way to balance my love of caring for young children with my professional career, while also having the opportunity to make a positive contribution to our community. I’m also lucky enough to work for an organisation where “doing the right thing” is at the heart of our business. NAB has been extremely supportive and has allowed me to balance my tasks and priorities at the office with my role as a foster carer – whether that’s taking a few hours here and there to meet with birth parents or attend training or taking last minute volunteer leave for emergency respite placements.
What are the rewards/positives?
To me, there is nothing more wonderful than seeing the world through the eyes of child and it’s their innocence and love of life that really grounds me. For a toddler, everything is new and exciting and it reminds me just how important it is to take the time to appreciate the simple things in life. As a foster carer, you are responsible for the safety, health and happiness of these little ones and to me that is a great privilege.
What type of differences have you noticed in the child/ children you have looked after?
As a respite carer, children are normally only in our care for a few days at a time so it is hard to see immediate differences. But what you do see is them becoming more open and trusting of those around them and hopefully, if I do my role well, lots of laughter and smiles.
How have you found your overall experience?
Being a foster carer is a wonderful opportunity to make a positive difference in the lives of others. And you’re never doing it on your own. The team at Anglicare Victoria are amazing and always on hand to support.