AN urgent plea has gone out to south-west Victorians to consider becoming foster parents as demand exceeds the available pool of volunteers.
Another 20 foster carers are needed to supplement the 30 existing volunteers across the region who provide vital support for young people under the age of 18 who are unable to live at home.
“We already have a fabulous pool of carers, but we don’t want to put too much strain on them and stretch them too far,” MacKillop Family Services chief executive Micaela Cronin said.
“New carers are needed to help with respite. Some of these carers have been involved for more than 30 years.
“These are salt of the earth people who help care for hundreds of kids. Many of them already have their own children and they’ve taken in more children.”
Ms Cronin said there were about 40 young people in foster care across the south-west while across the state more than 500 more homes were needed.
“What these children need most is a safe and nurturing place to call home so they can begin to heal and live the kind of childhood all children deserve,” she said. “We need carers spread across the south-west so kids in need can stay within their own network of friends and support.
“People can choose the type of care they are comfortable with ranging from a weekend a month to full permanent living.
“Training is provided and they get a carer’s allowance payment.”
Ms Cronin said there were many reasons why some children could no longer live in their own homes — family breakdown, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and mental health.
“These children need help in crucial stages of their lives,” Ms Cronin said.
More information can be obtained from MacKillop Family Services on 1300 791 677 or on the website.