NORTHERN suburbs couple Sue and Dave (not their real names) stopped counting the number of foster children they have cared for when they hit 100.
The couple joined WANSLEA’s emergency care program 15 year ago, soon after they arrived in Australia from Europe.
The now parents of four, including one biological child, say fostering is an enormous challenge but there are so many rewards.
“You bond so fast with the child because they need you so much and you need to be there for them all the time,” Sue said.
“We can help these children in a short period of time.”
The couple then signed up for long term fostering and took over full time care of a young child they were initially looking after for two weeks.
Sue and Dave then found out they were pregnant adding a second child to their family before welcoming another foster child in to their home full time.
They are also looking after a baby who is in short term care.
Sue said there was no difference between their biological and foster children.
“They all identify as Australia/European and are so ingrained in our family,” she said.
“Our relatives treat them the same too.”
Children in State care are largely left to fend for themselves once they turn 18, making them our most vulnerable young people.
Community News is supporting Home Stretch, a national campaign urging all state governments to change legislation to support them until they are 21.
Here’s how YOU can help:
1. Join the Home Stretch campaign at: thehomestretch.org.au
2. Sign up to be a foster carer at: www.dcp.wa.gov.au
Sue said while the children would have their support in transitioning from teenager to adulthood, many foster children could end up on the street if the State Government did not extend the age of care to 21.
“Support with driving licenses, out of school programs and finding a house are practical ways of helping that would be invaluable for these kids,” she said.
“Foster children have special needs, they have trauma and they need special care so it’s ridiculous the support is cut off at 18.”
Sue said more foster carers were needed from emergency and long term care to respite so families like hers could take a break.
To sign up as a foster carer, visit fosternow.com.au.