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Safety and security make all the difference to a young person’s life

Providing a safe home for vulnerable young people feels like ‘no big deal’ to foster carer, Libbie Arnott.

Growing up in a happy family with parents who were quick to help others in their community who needed support, Libbie remembers that even as a child, she wanted to be a foster carer.

“I always wanted to have a home where kids are welcome; where they would feel safe and supported and that’s the main reason I became a foster carer.”

32-year-old Libbie lives in Geelong and, after studying youth work, began working with young people living in residential care.

“When you work with young people in out of home care, you are acutely aware that some young people cannot live safely in their own homes for a whole range of reasons. On top of this, there is a critical shortage of safe homes for older children and teenagers and I knew I could offer long-term support as a foster carer,” said Libbie.

Through foster care, Libbie has supported older teenagers transition to independent living, helping them establish their own homes and develop their own relationships.

Nothing fills me with pride more than seeing young people who have had a difficult time go on and do well in their lives. One of the young woman I supported in foster care now has a baby of her own and I’m honorary grandma,” laughs Libbie. “She is such a great Mum and has reconnected with her family and I feel so happy to have played a part in supporting her to do that.

– Libbie

Currently looking after a six-year-old boy, Libbie is also supporting his older sibling who has just transitioned to independent living.

“These two have such a beautiful relationship and giving them a safe space to make that connection has been very rewarding. They’ve spent time with extended family and reconnected with their culture and playing a part in helping them learn who they are and where they come from has been a real privilege,” Libbie added.

Libbie would like to see more people think about becoming foster carers.

“When people hear I’m a foster carer, they think you have to be some kind of superhero, but it’s not like that at all. You just need love and space in your heart and your home for these precious children. I also believe you get back far more than you put in. If it’s something you’ve been thinking about, take the next step and find out if foster care is for you, there are so many children who need our support.”