10 September 2021
Life Without Barriers is paying tribute to their more than 2500 foster and kinship carers who have continued to support children in their care through Covid restrictions and lockdowns over the past year and a half.
Life Without Barriers Executive Director Child, Youth and Families Jane French said, “There have been many unsung heroes during this pandemic, and we absolutely need to add foster and kinship carers to that list.”
“Children who are in care often depend on a community of support around them – teachers, principals and school support staff, counsellors, therapists, case workers, their families and siblings, respite foster carers, as well as sporting coaches, friends and mentors, to name a few.
“Carers have had to be all those roles for children over the last few months.”
Ms French said that restrictions are tough for all families and children, however children in care often have trauma histories and additional needs which can make staying at home, not seeing their friends and family and having their routines disrupted particularly distressing for them.
“Life Without Barriers carers have worked very hard to give children a sense of routine and predictability while rapidly adapting to changing restrictions and going in and out of lockdowns. They have had to support children to manage their feelings of frustration, isolation and sadness and help them find ways to keep connected with their friends and stay active.
“As we know many children are home-schooling at the moment. Children in care often need extra support and stimulation to be able to focus on their schoolwork, so carers are having to provide that support. And of course many carers are supporting two or three or four children to home-school all at once, which can be very challenging.
“Carers are also working to ensure that children can keep in touch with their family members through virtual means, as face to face contact has had to be cancelled in many circumstances – as well as helping children manage those tough feelings of not being able to see their family face to face.
“Many carers have experienced significant hardship themselves – some of have had their jobs impacted or lost income in the pandemic and are also feeling the effects of not being able to see their friends and family and support network.
“Despite personal hardships, they have not wavered in their love and support for children in their care. Through all that they have had to find their own ways to role model how to remain positive and resilient because they have children depending on them.
“This Foster & Kinship Carer Week, we are paying tribute to the amazing support all carers have given to children and young people.”