Geelong Cats forward and BCYF Foster Care Ambassador Jamaine Jones is urging members of the Barwon community to consider becoming a Foster Carer, highlighting the urgent need for more carers in the region.
In Victoria alone there are more than 10,000 children and young people in out of home care who are unable to live with their birth parents. Jamaine used to be one of them, and therefore knows first-hand the difference that Foster Carers can make in a child’s life.
As part of Foster Care Week (September 8-14), BCYF has launched a new campaign encouraging those in Geelong and beyond to consider becoming a Foster Carer.
This year’s Foster Care Week theme is, Value Of Carers. The theme points to the tremendous value of Foster Carers, who care for vulnerable young people in our community. The week is also a time to shine a light on the significant the contribution Foster Care makes to the whole community.
This is the second year of Jamaine’s ambassadorship with BCYF, and he said he was proud to advocate for Foster Care, hoping to make a positive difference in people’s lives.
Jamaine features in a new Foster Care recruitment campaign video with Jennie, a Foster Carer in the Barwon region. Jennie and her husband, who are retirees, decided to become a Foster Carer after being inspired by Jamaine’s story.
“Every day I wake up and I’m excited, I feel younger, I love it more than I ever thought I would,” Jennie said.
Jamaine said it made a big a difference in his own life to see the difference Foster Care made on young people.
BCYF Out of Home Care Manager Cassie Franzose explained there was an urgent need for more Foster Carers across the region.
“There is a huge shortage of carers, we have more kids coming into care than we do carers and that’s a state-wide problem, but also one here in Barwon,” Mrs Franzose said.
“There’s somewhere between 300 and 400 kids who need care every night in the area and a lot of them need ongoing foster care and, unfortunately, we can’t always provide that because we don’t have enough.”
BCYF provides Foster Carers with ongoing training, education, and 24-hour support. There is a need for all types of carers, from overnight or emergency care, respite, through to longer term carers.
Foster Carers can be individuals or couples, be male or female, be working full or part time, not working, retired or studying, be culturally, linguistically, ethnically and/or religiously diverse, be single or in a relationship, including same sex relationships, own their own home or be renting, identify at LGBTIQ+, have children of their own, or not.
Jamaine encouraged those interested in becoming a Carer to enquire with BCYF.
“Not only will you make a difference to the kid’s life but they’ll make a difference to yours as well,” Jamaine said.
“If you are thinking about it, I’d say ‘just do it’, because it’s awesome in the end.”
Foster Care Week
Foster Care Week runs from September 8-14 and raises awareness about Foster Care in the wider community.
During the week BCYF will be holding an informal information session for anyone interested in finding out more about becoming a Foster Carer. The session will provide an opportunity to gain information and talk to some of BCYF’s current Carers, over a cup of coffee. You can ask as many questions as you like, and there is no obligation to apply.
When: Thursday, September 12
Where: Charles & Co Café, GMHBA Stadium
Phone: 5226 8900 to register your interest.