The number of south-west children in foster care has risen 15 per cent according to MacKillop Family Services.
MacKillop and Brophy Youth and Family Services urgently need foster carers to cater for the rising demand.
MacKillop's carer recruitment and development coordinator Tania Ferris is campaigning for more carers throughout National Foster Care week.
"The community needs to understand the reality here; we have kids who need placements and they need safe environments to grow up in," she said.
"These kids want and deserve a childhood.
"At times kids have to leave the region if we can't find local foster carers for them and currently we have more kids in our program than carers.
"We need to remove the stigma surrounding foster care and start thinking about these kids as individuals with bright futures ahead of them."
MacKillop's services extend to out-of-home care, disability, youth support, education and volunteering.
"We have over 65 carers in our program and we'd like to see this number grow," Ms Ferris said.
"A foster carer can be anyone who's over the age of 21. They can be married, single, retired, working full or part-time.
"We go through extensive training with people who want to be carers and at then they sit an assessment to qualify.
"Our carers are supported 24/7 and there are ongoing training requirements and opportunities and a local support groups.
"While the carers within our service say it is challenging, the reward outweighs this. Carers say they feel instant gratification when they see kids making it through life events and setting and achieving their goals.
"I've heard people say that they didn't know they could love someone so much."
Brophy provides emergency, respite, short-term and long-term care for children up to 18 years. Case support workers are assigned to support young people and their carers and there are respite available for carers.
The organisation has strong ties with the Australian Childhood Foundation to provide therapeutic services to children and have established a Leaving Care Program to support and coach young people exiting out-of-home care.
Communications coordinator Alli Hill said Brophy also had linkages to other services and was always on the lookout for carers.
"We need everyone to sit down and have the conversation with their families, friends and loved ones and seriously consider how they could make being a foster carer work," she said.
"Children in out-of-home care are the responsibility of the community.
"We all need to care and think about what we can do to make a difference in the lives of children who cannot remain in their family home."
While MacKillop and Brophy are always looking for more carers to come on board, Ms Ferris said the organisations were particularly hopeful families and young professionals would step up.
"It's great for kids to enter into families so they can find out what it means to be a part of one," she said.
"At the moment we're particularly hopeful some young professionals who have worked with children with trauma before will want to become foster carers."
Ms Ferris said foster care looked different in every case, depending on the child's background and situation.
"Foster care be weekend care, short-term care from two weeks to two months or it can be long-term care until another decision is made for the child," she said.
"The kids in our program range from 0-18 years old. Some newborns come into the program straight from the hospital while some kids are in the services for a short time while their parents get help. Others stay in the service until they find their 'forever families'."
Foster Care Week runs until September 14 and it is a chance to reflect on the tireless work of foster carers and consider what changes people can make to become foster carers, mentors or volunteers.
"Throughout Foster Care Week we thank those who everyday look after the vulnerable children in our community," Ms Ferris said.
"Foster care really does put the saying into practice; it's takes a village to raise a child."
To find out more information on how to become a foster carer through MacKillop Family Services head to https://www.mackillop.org.au, call 5500 2000 or drop in to 202 Lava Street, Warrnambool.
Brophy Family and Youth Services information can be found via https://www.brophy.org.au
Have you signed up to The Standard's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in the south-west.