The challenges of retaining foster carers

Since the 1980s, Inala Community House has been supporting foster and kinship carers across the Brisbane and Moreton Bay regions. The program was established to meet the ever-growing need for child protection services and support carers to deliver the best quality care for the children in their homes.

The need for foster and kinship care is increasing, and the Child Protection Australia report revealed that there are more than 46,200 children in out-of-home care, with 91% in a home-based care placement. In Queensland alone, there are over 9,400 children in out of home care. Inala Community House is passionate about building and maintaining a community of carers, to help meet the need, but there is an ongoing challenge of retaining foster carers.

Foster carers may decide to stop fostering for several reasons, but some of the key factors can be burn out, lack of support, impact on their own families and changes to their own personal circumstances. Supporting the foster carers is a critical aspect of Inala Community House Out of Home Care, our team is there to ensure the carers have the tools and support they need for children in their care.

There are both challenges and benefits to being a foster and kinship carer. Our staff at Inala Community House are trained and passionate about celebrating the good times with our carers and being there to support them when it becomes tough. As a highly valued carer, you can expect to have someone walking the journey with you as you continue to provide and loving and safe home to vulnerable children and young people.

The Inala Community House Out of Home Care program has 68 carer households, 141 children and young people receiving care and 28, 387 bed nights. However, in the last year, we have welcome eighteen new carers, but have also seen sixteen carers make the decision to stop fostering.

Despite the challenges, we have incredible carers in our agency. Kerris is one of these amazing people, who has been a carer with us since 2009. Now in her early seventies, foster care has changed her entire life and she has cared for almost 60 children.

“I wish I had started earlier; I just love it and find it so rewarding. You can’t get this feeling anywhere else, not from donating money, just from nurturing these children, even if you can help just one. You really see the difference in these children, the difference you make.

You know from the beginning that they aren’t yours and aren’t going to stay forever. For the short time I have, I’m going to do my best for that child. You know that when they do go, a little part of you goes with them on their journey. When they go, I prepare myself, I have my moments, I have tears, and I always send a storybook and a cast of their footprints. Yes, I am sad when they go but I hope that it is for the best. I’m only a steppingstone in their life.

Seeing them go home, back to their biological family, was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever experienced. I can’t judge, all I can do is help. I’m so proud to have been a part of that.”

For more information about the Inala Community House Out of Home Care program, please visit our website or call (07) 3372 1711.

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