I'm 34, single, and I work full-time. I don't have children, and I live in a share house. While I'd felt for a long time I had the emotional resources to be a foster carer, I didn't see how it could work practically.
Then I found out about home-based respite care- a model where I could go and live-in with the kids for one weekend a month, rather than them coming to me. I didn't need my own home; I could continue working full-time, and I would be supported by a larger care team of MacKillop ...
Children and young people in care can often deal with extreme feelings and have difficulty managing their subsequent behaviours. Emotion coaching is a research-based five-step process developed by Dr. John Gottman (US psychology researcher). It teaches children and young people how to recognise their emotions and healthy ways to express them.
When a young person is exposed to trauma early in life, it can have a serious impact on their development.
It is imperative that any impacts of trauma are identified as soon as the child enters into care, so their needs are met and they are supported on their path to healing. When sibling groups enter the care system together it adds an extra layer of complexity, as it is critical to ensure that their attachment to each other is not damaged or broken.
When five year old Amelia* was asked to draw her family tree for a school project, it included the usual people. Amelia included her father and his girlfriend, and her mother Heather*. Also included were Stephanie* and Troy* and their three children. The interesting part is that Stephanie and Troy are not related to Amelia... well at least not in the typical sense.