We’re dusting off our sequins and getting ready to sparkle as MacKillop Family Services joins in the fun for the Sydney Mardi Gras Fair Day on Sunday 19 February.
Fair Day runs from 10.00 am to 9.00 pm and staff from MacKillop will be at the stall to talk to people at Fair Day who are interested in becoming foster carers.
Foster carer, Rebecca Johnstone from Bateman’s Bay, NSW, hopes that the opportunity to talk to people at the MacKillop stall will help tackle the myths in the community that exist around who can be foster carers.
“Too many people think single people or people from the LGBATIQA+ community cannot be foster carers. I want them to know that is not the case. I’m a proud member of the queer community and becoming a carer has been one of the best things I’ve ever done.“
Rebecca enquired about foster care when her two girls had grown up as she always loved having kids around and she knew that there are many children in the area who are not able to live safely in their own homes. She now looks after two children, one of whom was non-verbal when they came to live with Rebecca and has now become a happy little chatterbox.
“Making a positive difference to a young person’s life is such an enriching experience. It does my heart good to see my little friends flourish and thrive and I’m very happy to be an integral part of their support systems,” Rebecca added.
MacKillop’s National Leader of Foster Care Development, Jasmine Perry, says people do not realise that there is a critical shortage of foster carers throughout Australia.
“Each year, the number of children and young people needing foster care grows. And it grows more quickly than we can find people to care for them. Our foster carers come from all different walks of life, but what they have in common is the desire to provide safe and nurturing homes for children and young people who are unable to live in their own homes.
“Visitors to our Fair Day stall will have the opportunity to talk to some of our carers from the LGBTIQA+ community about their real experiences of being a foster carer. They can find out about the different types of foster care, our comprehensive training, the 24-hour support available and hear firsthand about the process of becoming a foster carer.
Find out more about becoming a foster carer.
This International Women’s Day, we celebrate the inspiring women who create change, influence a positive future and drive meaningful action.
Natalie and her partner have been full time foster carers for three years. Receiving their accreditation in December 2019, they welcomed their first children in January 2020 – two children, Alex* and Frankie*, who are still in their care today.
There were many reasons to become a foster carer for Natalie: to make a difference, to be an active part of her community and to be there for vulnerable children and families in crisis for starters.
“I was aware of the reality facing children and young people involved with child protection, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I couldn’t look the other way,” she reveals.
To become a foster carer was a life changing decision, not only for Natalie but those young people she would help. It is a decision that has been incredibly rewarding.
“Fostering changes everything. It’s an incredible experience. For my partner and I it has brought more joy, more challenge, more chaos, and more fulfilment than we could have imagined.”
Joy has come in the form of moments for Natalie. The thousand little treasured moments when, as a foster carer, she feels the enormity of what it means to do what she does. Seemingly simple day to day things like snuggling up in bed, being clean, fed, warm and safe become so meaningful.
Through all of the trauma and the grief, all the behaviours and the challenges carers like Natalie and her partner ensure children and young people are believed in, nurtured, championed, celebrated and loved.