CAROL and Alex Matthews know that all foster children want is a warm home, to know they’re going to get fed and someone who cares for them.
For more than 20 years the Warrnambool couple have opened their home to children and young people in need.
“They want someone who cares and is kind, and understands their situation,” Mrs Matthews said.
Mr and Mrs Matthews had two young daughters when they made the decision to become foster carers and said there had been no regrets.
“It was something we always wanted to do but we had kind of moved around a lot before then,” Mrs Matthews said.
She said her daughters, who were three and seven at the time, loved the additional family members.
“At the start we always made sure the foster kids were younger than our kids,” she said.
“For our kids it was just someone else to play with and have a sleepover.”
Mr Matthews said he got a lot of personal satisfaction from foster care and it felt nice to know they had made a difference in people’s lives.
He estimated they would have cared for hundreds of children, but for now the couple had become involved in emergency and respite care.
Mrs Matthews said her advice to anyone considering foster care was “just do it”.
“Just start slowly,” she said.
“There is heaps of support and they make sure the child fits in. You can do as little or as much as you like.”
Brophy Family and Youth Services senior worker with the foster care team, Marion Noye, said at least 10 more families were needed in the Warrnambool area.
This week is Foster Care Week and Ms Noye said the reason children and young people came into foster care was because other options, such as kinship care, had already been explored.
“It can be anyone who loves kids and feels they’ve got the time to give,” she said.
For more information on becoming a foster carer phone 5561 8888.