Foster Care Angels is an incorporated entity with charitable status providing programs that support young people and their carers within the New South Wales (NSW) Foster Care System. The organisation is committed to ensuring that children entering the Foster Care system feel respected without discrimination by providing items of comfort and practicality based on clinical and psychological analysis.
Foster carers identified an urgent need for children in their initial upheaval from their biological parents to a foster care home which to date has not been met by other organisations in the Foster Care System. The warm comfort that comes from clutching a teddy bear and ownership of unused personal items that are theirs to keep provide the first steps to some dignity and self-respect in a situation full of trauma and distress. Foster Care Angels has been packing back packs with such items based on age and gender specific needs and distributing them throughout NSW since 2011.
With growing recognition of the valuable contribution to children’s emotional stability that such a small benefit can establish, the founders have been encouraged to identify additional gaps in the Foster Care System in NSW. Programs now extend from the child’s entry into the system through to the psychological benefits of counselling for a teen ager about to leave the system. it is an extensive suite of programs that includes various types of educational support, through to university scholarship opportunities at the University of Western Sydney.
The organisation has also identified the desperate need of carers for respite and network building to ensure a constant supply of carers by reducing burn out and isolation. Additional support is provided for families that have been identified as at risk of placement breakdown with a recharge retreat and holiday accommodation. The benefit of relief support has seen a reduction of the high level of withdrawal of foster carers from the system thus enhancing stability for the children involved.
To ensure the sustainability of positive programs for vulnerable children in the foster care system, Foster Care Angels has worked collaboratively and in partnership with several stakeholders such as the Department of Family and Community Services (FaCS), Clubs Australia and a number of supporting businesses in the local area since 2011 and proposes to maintain and build those and similar relationships into the future.