Foster Agencies Adapt to Modern Family

A trend paper released yesterday by  the Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies (ACWA) revealed how dramatic  changes to the traditional Australian family have prompted foster care agencies like ours to explore new avenues to fill an urgent need   for  new carers over the next two   years.As part of ACWA’s its recently-launched Fostering campaign, the trend paper draws on expert opinion and research to   explore the new face of fostering and how it will change in the next 10 years.The report identifies that families  having less children and teenagers leaving the nest later in life are among the factors that have placed traditional methods of out-of-home care under threat.

As an agency we would have to agree it rings true. We have  many children in out of home care meaning we are adapting to today’s society   by exploring what could be considered as non-traditional carers.  This might include same-sex couples,   singles, empty nesters and adults from the caring professions. The multicultural   nature of Australia means there is an increased need for carers from   culturally diverse backgrounds, as well as the recognised need to link   Aboriginal carers with Aboriginal children.

According to paper contributor and  Associate Professor Judith Cashmore, from Sydney University, more flexible   fostering arrangements benefit both for foster children and foster parents.

There is increasing recognition of  the need to provide support to families who are struggling to raise children,   as well as the children themselves – sometimes an early intervention with a   short-term foster period, rather than a long-term foster arrangement, may be   the ideal response for a child. This works well with today’s busy lifestyles.   More creative, flexible fostering arrangements can be a win/win for both  children and potential foster carers alike,” said Ms Cashmore.

Despite the changes to Australian  families and society, the underlying characteristics of a great foster carer  remain unchanged. If you have a sense of love, parenting skills, stability and  strong values, fostering a child in need is one of the most rewarding life  experiences a family can embark on.

To find out more about becoming a  foster carer please contact Foundations Care on 1300 395 005 or visit