Foster Care Angels exists to take trauma out of the foster care system.
The organisation provides ongoing support for children and their carers in the foster care system so that no child needs to suffer trauma, discrimination and disadvantage. The trauma that is experienced by many of these children is to most of us beyond belief and they bear the traumatic results throughout their entire life. Without support they become angry, depressed and dysfunctional adults turning to drugs and alcohol that lead them down the inevitable pathway to the criminal justice system and its vicious cycle. Foster Care Angels Board, staff and volunteers work to provide an opportunity to change this negative trajectory.
Founded by carers who understand that without carers to take on the burden of supporting these traumatised children there can be no system, support is provided in several ways. The core service is the provision of Care Packages that are age and gender specific and are made available to all children entering foster care. A back pack containing a toothbrush, a hair brush, a book and a soft teddy bear to hug for comfort in times of stress are such simple things but they can literally change lives. Carers are supported with educational conferences, training and networking opportunities.
When foster care children reach 18, they are deemed to be adults and are moved into community housing. Research has identified this cohort of young people as being the most vulnerable in the community. Transition into adulthood is faced without adequate life skills or family support that ensures a pathway into isolation, depression and significant representation in the criminal justice system. Existing services such as Headspace, Beyond Blue etc., orientate mental health programs requiring the person at risk to have the ability to identify themselves as having an issue. The FCA project provides and education program before leaving OoHC potentially mitigating the problems before they happen. This program aims to counter balance some of the disadvantage of being a foster child. It provides education and development of skills that enable a mentally healthy transition into adult life through understanding how to manage anxieties that can lead to depression, feelings of isolation and other mental health issues and provide support for those that find themselves in difficulty.
A community made up of healthy and well-adjusted young people can only benefit the community in the long term. Wasted resources focused on anti-social behaviour impacts both a financial and community costs. By providing the appropriate education resources to a cohort of young people that are most likely to participate in this kind of behaviour mitigates future antisocial outcomes thus not only reducing costs but also enhancing positive generational outcomes and community well-being. Positive contributing members of a community that participate in its objectives and pay taxes to allow for growth and development is a key objective of this program. The expected outcome is basic self-respect and the removal of feelings of failure to build a productive society.
Foster care children are mostly born into situations that give them no chance and no hope. They have been neglected, abused and traumatised. Without help they will never appreciate the benefits of being a positive participating member of a community. Understandably they react to situations in the only way they know how - through violence and self-harm.
Foster Care Angels' core goal is to take away the trauma as much as possible and as early as possible for children in our of home care. With the help of supporting carers and the community, we can turn around the trajectory for children in care and in so doing, making Australia a better place.