Kerrie and Andrew
"Be responsive to each child's fears and their individual needs."
Meet Kerrie & Andrew
"Be responsive to each child's fears and their individual needs." Hobart couple Kerrie & Andrew have been foster carers for Life Without Barriers since 2015 and have fostered five children in that time. They are currently the carers of a school aged girl and a little bubba.
Family life drives Kerrie and Andrew. They have seven of their own children between them and eighteen grandchildren. WOW!!
When asked why they became foster carers, Kerrie said, "We found ourselves in a situation where three children in our family were without stable parenting or accommodation for a short time, so we decided to take the reins and open up our heart and home to provide some short-term consistency and stability until everyone got back on their feet. At the same time this was happening we saw the advertisement in the Mercury newspaper for foster carers with Life Without Barriers and thought... we can do this."
Kerrie continued, "Andrew said call them so I did. We then went through the process under the guidance of Life Without Barriers and we never thought about backing out. Our advice is to just make the call, start the process and see where it takes you."
Kerrie and Andrew believe that communication, love and providing assurance to the children in their care that they are always safe with them are the cornerstones of being wonderful foster carers.
When asked about the challenges of being foster carers they said they have more joys than challenges, but see it is important to "be responsive to each child's fears and their individual needs."
They also issued the important message of, "You can't let your own needs go by the wayside. Everyone needs to openly respect and listen to each other's feelings. Even if it takes some time to understand those feelings it is really important to just listen."
When asked to reflect on the happiest times they have had as foster carers, Kerrie said "The change in [the girl] since coming to us is amazing!! Her achievements and a constant stream of awards at school, riding a bike, reading and writing, and making friends. When she first came to us she was very closed and didn't accept affection. She is now a very happy, open and affectionate girl."
Andrew adds, "Seeing the changes and improvements in the children that come into our care gives us a sense of achievement knowing that we have made a difference in their lives." It doesn't get much better than that!
Long-term care for 6-11 year olds
Grandmother and respite carer Elaine believes the relationships with the children in her care hinge on trust and respect.
Primary carer for three children aged 16, 10 and 18 months
Robyn has cared for over 20 children and is currently the primary carer of three children aged 18 months, 10 and 16 and couldn’t be prouder of them.