“I find it difficult to say no when I get the call from MacKillop about another child who needs a safe place to stay."
At a time when communities around the world face an unprecedented health crisis, the need for loving and stable homes for children in need has never been greater.
Like MacKillop, foster carer Ang Vredenbregt knows the coming months will see an increased need for foster carers as already vulnerable and disadvantaged families face potential job and income losses. Such stressors can place children at greater risk of abuse, neglect and family breakdown.
“At a time when families are spending more time together perhaps talk with each other about how you can support a child who needs a loving and stable home. It’s something I’ll be encouraging my friends to talk about with their families.”
Ang and husband, Nicolaas from Hoppers Crossing have been foster carers with MacKillop for almost 10 years. Along with looking after three children in permanent care - twin brother and sister aged eight and a younger boy who is almost four – the couple regularly provide respite and short-term care for kids who might be with them for a few nights or a few months
“We’ve looked after the twins since they were just weeks old as babies recovering from drug withdrawal. All three children deal with different challenges and as a family, we do everything we can to support them,” says Ang.
It’s a busy life, but one that Ang loves: “I find it difficult to say no when I get the call from MacKillop about another child who needs a safe place to stay. At the moment, I am also looking after a one-year-old who has been with us since he was three weeks old. We make sure he visits with his mum and older siblings and we’re helping until mum gets her life back on track.”
Ang is doing her best to get more of her friends and family to think about becoming carers and she’s delighted her sister will soon become an accredited carer. But she thinks more people in the community could step up and open their door to a child in need and says many people have no idea there is such a need for foster carers in their local area.
“People often ask why they see me at the local school with different children and babies. When I tell them I am a foster carer, they are genuinely surprised so many kids in our area need safe homes.
“My own sister has just become accredited and I honestly think becoming a carer is something many more people should think about. Yes, it might be hard work, but the rewards from seeing children thrive are worth it. It the best thing I’ve ever done.”