Westminster couple extol positives of being foster carers

Westminster couple extol positives of being foster carers

WESTMINISTER couple Michelle Ranieri and Clary Blenkhorn said it was “exciting” when they first brought home their three-week-old foster daughter.

Ms Ranieri said when they first started looking to become foster carers, the couple realised there were many children in WA alone that needed help and support; something they could offer.

“It was pretty exciting, at first we weren’t sure if she’d be with us a couple of weeks,” she said.

“Our friends and family were all pretty keen to meet her.”

Ms Ranieri said caring for the girl, who was now 18 months old, was very rewarding.

“Probably the most challenging part would be not knowing how long she’ll be with us, things can change quite quickly,” she said.

They said the Department for Child Protection and Family Support had supported them in their role, as well as the “tight-knit” fostering community.

“There are a lot of options if you’re not prepared to foster long term; respite care, emergency placements, a lot of people don’t know that,” she said.

The Department’s Mirrabooka district director Roley Bayman said he encouraged individuals and families north-east of Perth to consider the “selfless and rewarding” role as a foster carer.

“They can be male or female, single or couples, same sex relationships, with or without children of their own, working full or part-time, or retired,” he said.

“Every child deserves a permanent, safe, stable and nurturing home, and for children in care this needs to occur at the earliest opportunity to help them overcome the trauma that many will have suffered.”

There were 320 children and young people in care in the Mirrabooka district, 28 general foster carer households and 74 family carer households.

Mr Baylis said the Department was pushing for more Aboriginal people to become foster carers as 50 per cent of children in care were Aboriginal and they strove to place them with extended family or Aboriginal carers.

A foster care information session will be held at 8 Sudbury Road, Mirrabooka, Thursday, September 1, 6pm-8pm.

For more information go to www.cpfs.wa.gov.au.