There are so many reasons why children come into foster care. They come from all cultures and from all corners of our country. While each child has a unique set of needs and experiences, almost all come from complex family and social situations where they may have suffered neglect, trauma or abuse.
How old are children in care?
Children in care are aged between 0 and 17 years. While the majority of children entering care are over 5, the median age is 6. Many children have siblings who they need to live with whenever this is safe.
Children come from a range of cultural backgrounds
Australia is a multicultural country and children in care come from a variety of cultural and linguistic backgrounds. Some are from newly arrived families who have experienced trauma and war. Others come from cultural backgrounds that are well established in Australia.
Whenever possible we will match children with carers who share their cultural and linguistic background. If this is not possible, our carers ensure children stay connected to the languages, cultures and religious practices that are important to them and their families.
Children have families who are important to them
When children are in care, their families are still very important to them. Children need their parents, siblings and other family members to be involved in their care and respected by their carers. We always support families and carers to build strong relationships that are in the best interest of the children.
Reunification – the first goal for all children in care
It is always best for all children to return home to their own families when this is safe. We need carers who can support the reunification processes in partnership with Life Without Barriers and children’s families. When it’s not safe for children to return home, permanent care or other long term options may be needed.
Families can struggle – for all sorts of reasons
Not all children have suffered abuse or neglect or have even been at risk. Some children enter care because their families have been unable to meet their high needs such as medical needs or very challenging behaviors. Sometimes parents ask for their children to go into care, for a short time or a long time, to enable them to cope and for children to get the help and care they need.
Trauma, abuse and neglect
Children in care have all suffered trauma of some sort. Just being removed from their family can cause trauma. Some children have been physically, emotionally or sexually abused, others have witnessed domestic violence, and some may have been neglected – not given the care, support and supervision they need to develop and grow.
How we care for children
At Life Without Barriers we are committed to ensuring carers and staff support children in a way that creates conditions for positive change. We use the Children and Residential Experience (CARE) model to guide our work with children and their families, and through training and ongoing support, we equip carers with the skills needed to care for and nurture a foster child.
- Relationship based
- Developmentally focused
- Family involved
- Competence centred
- Trauma informed
- Ecologically orientated
"The carers that have us are very supportive and loving"
- Tina, child in care in New South Wales