During 2021 Foster Care Week, BCYF will celebrate and thank its group of foster carers for the amazing difference they make in young people’s lives.
This includes carers, Peyman and Leila, who became foster carers with BCYF after moving from Iran to settle in Geelong.
“It was always a dream of mine to have many kids, but when we moved to Australia, we were so busy,” Leila said.
“After a while we thought we had some time and moved into a new house with a spare room, so then we could support kids for respite.”
The husband and wife work full time and have done respite care for children and young people aged from nine to 17 years of age.
Respite care provides support for a child or young person’s parents, guardians or regular foster carers by providing them with a break.
Leila explained how each new placement can have its challenges.
“With new kids, there can be lots of issues, they are changing house, changing culture,” she said.
“The loveliest part is when I could see the progress, from week one, to week two, until the end of your time together.
That is the reward, it is nice you can help in a little part of someone’s life.”
“It could be a short time, one week, or one month, you can still have influence in their lives,” Leila added.
Peyman agreed it was the small moments that could be the most significant when it came to foster care.
“I remember we went to the playground at Torquay and there were many families around,” he said.
“The little person wanted to play on the swings, he asked me, ‘can you please push me?’”
“It was a very big moment for me, he wanted to show the others at the playground he was part of our family.”
The couple has a 17-year-old daughter, Zania, and Leila said the teenager also loved welcoming children and young people into the home.
“I remember one particular group of siblings, they came to visit after being in our care, and Zania and the child were hugging for five minutes,” Leila said.
“All I could hear was laughing and giggling – it was a very good experience for all of us.”
BCYF is in urgent need for more foster carers in the Barwon region to help meet rising demand.
BCYF Manager Out of Home Care, Jo Dumesny said BCYF was actively recruiting new community members into its foster care program.
“We urgently need more people willing to open their home, who can help us respond to the increasing number of children who need care,” she said.
“Foster carers can come from all walks of life, what is important is that they can provide children with a safe and nurturing home.”
There is a need for all types of carers from overnight or emergency care, respite, through to longer term carers. BCYF provides foster carers with ongoing training, education and 24-hour support.
“One of my friends told me, ‘you are changing the life of these kids’,” Peyman said.
“I told him no, they are changing our lives, I think I am doing something for someone who needs the help and I love it.”
The community can also support children and young people in foster care by making a donation online during BCYF’s Foster a Future Appeal.
Foster Care Week runs from September 12-18 2021 and raises awareness about Foster Care in the wider community.