A FOSTER care organisation recently opened up an office in Clarkson and is calling for more people to become carers.
The Wanslea Foster Care service moved into Clarkson about a month ago, with a social worker, Susan Queen, and a family support worker, Linda Smith, based in the new office.
While Mrs Queen focuses on the children who need foster care, Mrs Smith advocates for the carers and provides support, with both working to match children with the most appropriate carers in places close to their parents.
“Joondalup Child Protection really likes to place their children in close proximity,” Mrs Smith said.
“We don’t really have enough (carers) in the northern corridor – we desperately need more.”
One foster carer, Gloria, whose surname is withheld to protect children, said she took one or two children in at a time for respite or short-term care.
“I love children and I have also been a carer for the elderly,” the grandmother said.
“I find it very fulfilling caring for the kids – you get to meet so many kids, different personalities.”
Gloria has cared for children of different cultural backgrounds, and cooks meals from their countries to help them adjust.
“Generally we start (carers) off doing respite, just so they can get used to children being in and out of their home,” Mrs Queen said.
“It’s quite scary looking after other people’s children.”
Long-term foster parent Steven said he and his wife started as respite carers, but became the full-time foster parents for seven children about four years ago.
Although the eldest child has elected to leave foster care, the remaining six, aged four to 14, still live with them.
“It keeps you busy – you are on the go all the time,” Steven said.
Mrs Queen said foster carers had to meet five competencies and went through a lengthy approval process.
Although the Department of Child Protection’s priority is to try to get children back with their natural parents, Mrs Queen said in some cases parents did not have the capacity to look after children.
Wanslea Foster Care
What: foster carers needed for respite, short-term and long-term care.
Where: cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo
Office: Unit 1, 11 Caloundra Road, Clarkson
Contact: 9245 2441