Operation Sunshine

Sometimes, for various reasons, a child has to be taken into emergency care. When this happens, the Department for Child Protection and Family Support moves quite swiftly, and often there is no time for a child to pack clothes and belongings to take with them.



Belmont resident Erin Tan seeing the need, came up with the idea of providing what she calls a sunshine pack: a backpack specially designed for children who suddenly find themselves moved into emergency care.

Each sunshine pack contains special comforts like pyjamas, socks, a toothbrush and a soft toy, to get a child through the first 24 to 48 hours of a placement.

Last Thursday, Operation Sunshine represented by Erin and founder Leah Atkinson made their first delivery of 30 sunshine packs to the South Perth office of Foundations Care, a national fostering services agency.

“Foundations Care is the first organisation we’ve provided them to, which is exciting for us,

and the packs themselves are full of new things – they’re not pulled out of a box of second-hand stuff. Everyone loves getting new stuff. It’s so exciting, and fresh and new.” Leah said.

Operation Sunshine all began when Leah invited her friends on social media to contribute to a Christmas present drive for children in out-of-home care.

“I just said to my friends on Facebook, ‘Anyone wanna donate a present also?’ and the response was quite overwhelming’,” she said. “I ended up having to set up a Facebook page, separate from mine, just to organise all the Christmas presents. People I didn’t know from a bar of soap were putting money in my bank account, and asking me to buy presents for these kids.”

Leah realised the potential of people’s eagerness to donate to help kids and began to put together a committee of six friends and started Operation Sunshine.

“We don’t see ourselves as supporting children in care, because the foster carers and various service providers do that. Instead, the charity works to provide things beyond the necessities, in an attempt to minimise the sense of displacement, and the isolation, that comes with going into out-of-home care. Our catchphrase is ‘We make children happy when their skies are grey.”

Leah and Erin assembled the packs in Erin’s living room, with the help of Erin’s three-year-old daughter. Erin explained that they were for kids who don’t have their mummies and daddies around, and she was helping. She was really excited about putting all the teddies in the bags.

The first Sunshine packs were assembled with funds raised from a sausage sizzle.

And now the organisation is able to fundraise and accept charitable donations, it has plans for many more.

Leah stated that after raising funds, Operation Sunshine’s biggest challenge was getting people to understand what happened when children were placed in out-of-home care.

Once you talk about that, and talk about the circumstances that have brought children into out-of-home care, people want to get involved. We chose the name Operation Sunshine because we wanted to bring sunshine into those children’s lives. We provide that extra, that sunshine that children in out-of-home care may miss out on.


Anyone interested in finding out more about Operation Sunshine can go to www.operationsunshinewa.org


For information about becoming a foster carer, contact Foundations Care at 1300 395 005.



If you are a Foster Carer, OR if you have ever thought about becoming a Foster Carer, then please join us at the inaugural, annual Pamper Day, presented by Foundations Care, in partnership with the Indigenous Wellbeing Centre and Lifestyle solutions, 11 March.

Here at Foundations Care, we are on the hunt for more Foster Carers, and we are inviting the local Bundaberg community to learn more about how you can open your heart and home to a child in need, meet other Foster carers, chat with Foundations Care staff, check out the Pamper Day displays and food stalls, and help us to celebrate the important role of Foster Carers in our community.

So, whether you are a carer, or interested in finding our more about opening your home and heart to a foster child, come along to the Pamper Day and bring the whole family for a fun day of celebrations and pampering!

Pamper Day – Celebrating Carers and Fostering Futures as an event for

Foster and Kinship Carers Week 2014.

 10am – 2pm, Tues 11 March 2014 @ Café 1928, Bundaberg Botanical Gardens

   seafmlogo lifestylesolslogo    iwclogo

Kids in Care Christmas Appeal

The Qld Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services together with ABC Radio are  helping bring a smile to the faces of more than 8000 Queensland children this Christmas who live away from home in order to be kept safe from abuse or neglect.

The aim is a simple one: to make sure all children in care across QLD receive at least one present this Christmas.

So how can you get involved?  Simply drop off a suitable gift or voucher to the Appeal at your closest collection point by Friday 13 December 2013.
ABC Shops are offering 10% off gifts purchased for the Kids in Care Christmas Appeal.

From there gifts will be distributed to children in care across the state.

Where are the donation points? Click here to find one closest to you

Who to buy for and what to buy? There are over 8000 children ranging from babies to children who are 17 years old.  If you can keep the cost to around $20 – $25 that would be perfect.

To listen to the Christmas Appeal radio commentary and hear some very heart felt stories for children in care, click here.

Bridge to Brisbane Support Needed!

Hi, I am Jason Thatcher, and myself and a team of dedicated mates are entering the bridge to Brisbane run in an effort to raise much needed awareness of the issues confronting families and children from a child Safety perspective. Secondly, the money raised will go towards the wonderful work the team at Foundations Care does in child safety.

So of all the charities and causes out there, why have I chosen child safety? To give a bit of an insight into my journey so far, I initially entered the child Safety and protection sector by accident by exiting children out of child sex trade and child pornography rings in Kings Cross which in turn led to giving evidence at the Royal Commission in the late 90’s. I did this for almost 8 years.

My day job at the time was a teacher and then principal for challenging behaviour students from K-12. In this time I also established alternative education settings for students exited from regular schools.  And today I am the National Manager of Business Development for Foundations Care, an organisation that I am extremely passionate about.

I need your help to meet my fundraising goal and to spread the request for support far and wide. My goals are to raise $1000 for Foundations Care and to finish the 10km race as part of the Foundations Care team. Every dollar we raise will go towards assisting Foundations  Care to provide safe, out-of-home placement for children and young people, who cannot live at home because their family can no longer look after them or they may be at risk of harm.

Anyone wishing to make a donation to help me reach my goal of $1000 can donate by phone, mail or online. All the information you need to do this is on this page.

Every little bit helps and will be greatly appreciated!

Alternatively if you would like to join my team and run with me for Foundations Care, the more the merrier and I would love to have you on board, just email me on jthatcher@csgroup.org.au.

It will also be a huge help if you could circulate this request through your social networks, using the icons above.

Thanks again and wish us luck

To donate simply click on the button below:

Click Here


Communities for Children Initiative

Foundations Care – Central Qld were recently approached by the Communities for Children initiative facilitated by The Smith Family to present to their staff an introduction to Child Safety. The aim of the presentation was to provide new workers in The Smith Family with an insight into the child safety sector.

With the support of Andrew Colquhoun from the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services collectively delivered information about the Department and their process, childhood trauma and development, confidentiality, decision making process and the importance of child participation among many things.

Not only did the day help to forge stronger relationships between Foundations Care, The Smith Family and the Department of Communities, but the Smith Family staffs were given a significant insight into the child Safety sector and how to work with children in care.

Award winners, Shelly,  Karen and Andrew

(Left to right (Shelley Truscott – The Smith Family, Karen Truscott – Foundations Care, Andrew Colquhoun – Qld Department of  Department of Communities, Child
Safety and Disability Services

Community Recognition Night for Foundations Care and Bunning’s Browns Plains

In the month of June 2013, Foundations Care was honoured to attend the Community Recognition Night at Bunning’s Browns Plains. Foundations Care has been involved with the Browns Plains store since November 2011, where we were given the opportunity to conduct sausage sizzles. Since then our partnership with Bunning’s in Browns Plains has been a rewarding experience, as Foundations Care have been able to raise a total of $7604 from November 2011 to June 2013.

As a result of this, these funds have allowed Foundations Care to:

  • Pay for Christmas present upgrades for 100+ children;
  • Additional services at our end of year Christmas Carer and child party, such as hiring a clown, magician, face painters, D.J and door prizes, gift vouchers and more;
  • School holiday programme activities;
  • Paint, brushes, art and craft supplies;
  • Plants, soil, containers and fertilizer;
  • Food products for carer activities;
  • Animated Disney and Pixar DVD’s for children in care;
  • $1500 was spent to hired a movie theatre for our children and carers to watch Despicable Me 2 and everyone was given everyone a small popcorn and small drink; and finally
  • $600 has been put towards the purchase of food for upcoming sausage sizzles.

Foundations Care would love to extend our appreciation to Bunning’s Browns Plains and all people involved for allowing us the opportunity to raise funds for our program.

Foster Carer Shortage in Wide Bay – Rockhampton Regions

We have seen an large increase in the need for highly skilled foster carers based in the Fraser Coast region with a number of children still waiting essential placement.
At this time, there is an urgent need specifically for carers who are able to look after children that have higher needs and challenging behaviours.
In our experience, this is commonly seen as a result of the misconceptions surrounding foster care that too often create barriers for prospective foster carers and their families.
From Maryborough to Hervey Bay, these children are eagerly awaiting placement with dedicated carers to help build their new lives.

Who are we - foster care

Is Foster Care for me?

It’s important to dispel the myths surrounding foster care to allow prospective new parents the opportunity to become foster carers. The following includes common beliefs for eligibility:
• We must be married.
• I need a good income.
• We are not same-sex parents
• I’m currently unemployed.
When you apply to become a foster carer, you will need to demonstrate that you and your partner are able to provide a safe and stable home.
We recommend you speak with an experienced case-worker who can clarify all aspects of eligibility and assist you in taking the next step.

What is Foster Care?

The aim of foster care, is to provide a safe a stable home for a child who can no longer live at home. In the majority of cases, it is to reunite the children with their own families, although sometimes this is not a possibility. When this is the case, alternate options for permanent placement are explored.
For children that might be experiencing higher needs than others or challenging behaviours, assistance and training is provided to carers.

Types of Foster Care

Typically there are five types of foster care which include:
Kinship Care – Kinship care is provided by a person who is a relative, considered to be family or a close friend, or is a member of the child or young person’s community.
Short Term Placement – Short-term carers are full-time foster and kinship carers who provide ongoing, day-to-day care for children for up to two years, where the Department is working towards reunifying the child with their family.
Long Term Placement – Involves caring for children until they reach adulthood (usually 18 years) and are ready to live independently.
Emergency Placement – Emergency carers are carers who are available to provide short-term care at short notice for children who need a place to stay on an urgent basis.
Respite Care – Just as families need support or time-out on a regular basis or to deal with a serious personal matter, there are times when foster and kinship carers need a break.

What can I expect?

Following your submission of an expression of interest, you may be invited to attend an information session in your local area.

You will also be asked to participate in the following:
• A household safety study
• Completing the application for approval form
• Applying for a blue card, (or validating your existing blue card)
• Completing a health and well-being questionnaire
• Participating in interviews
• Completing initial training sessions.

Want to know more?

If you would like more information on how to foster a child, contact Foundations Care for expert advice and assistance.

1300 395 005

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 www.foundcarekids.org.au


Open your heart – NSW Recruitment Campaign for Foster Carers

The Association of Children’s Welfare Agencies, (ACWA), is gearing up to launch a
statewide recruitment campaign on May 30 to encourage more people to open their
hearts and become foster carers.

The campaign aims to raise awareness of foster care and will run for a year. There is
a host of media and publicity activity in the pipeline, so watch out for news, online
advertising and great stories about the valuable work you do.

There is also a lot that you can do to support it. ACWA needs foster carers to
encourage others to become a carer and to share their stories with the public and

Whether its simply being aware of what’s happening in your area and sharing the
information about events on your own Facebook page and Twitter profile, or being
willing to act as an ambassador, every little bit helps.

As part of the campaign a Foster Forum is being launched on the Fostering NSW
website, giving carers a platform to talk to other potential volunteers and become a
part of the virtual campaign.

Liz Potten, Foster Care Recruitment Project Officer for ACWA, will be moderating the
forum and driving the social media elements of the campaign.

As an existing foster carer she not only has first hand experience of the role but
bundles of knowledge about how social media can support such a campaign, making
her an invaluable asset to the ACWA team.

She said: “Being a foster carer is a role which can be very challenging, but is
ultimately incredibly rewarding. I feel very passionate about fostering and the positive
impact it can have on the life of a child or young person.

“I’m proud to be a part of the recruitment campaign and am keen to share my
experiences to encourage others to think about becoming a foster carer. You can do
the same.

“Don’t worry if you don’t know much about Facebook or Twitter, you can spread the
word by simply having a chat with a neighbour or other parents at the school gates.
Simply by raising awareness of fostering we can encourage more potential carers to
come forward.”

If you are interested in becoming an ambassador for the campaign and sharing your
story with the media, please contact Foundations Care.

Find out more about the campaign and keep up to date with the latest news at
www.fosteringnsw.com.au You can also follow us on Twitter @FosteringNSW and on
our Fostering NSW Facebook page.

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