Meet one of BCYF’s Foster Carers: Karen

Mothers come in many different forms. From biological mothers, to grandmothers, aunts, neighbours and friends.

This Mother’s Day BCYF acknowledges everyone who has been a mother, or a mother figure, in someone else’s life, including their group of foster carers. In May, Karen, was one over 50 BCYF carer households who experienced Mother’s Day as a foster mum.

Karen and her husband Cameron have been Foster Carers for five years.

She explained how after her three biological children grew and left home, there was a desire to continue caring.

“I wanted a bigger challenge,” she said.

“Work was becoming a bit boring, my own children had grown up and they were fairly self-sufficient and I was missing young people’s company in the home.”

“I also wanted to give back. I like young people and I really like helping young people.”

Karen and Cameron have done a wide variety of foster care, including long term care. They currently do emergency care and respite.

Emergency care provides accommodation for children and young people in an emergency and can often be required at a moment’s notice, at any time of the day.

Respite care provides support for a child or young person’s parents, guardians or regular foster carers by enabling them to have a break, and it helps builds the circle of caring people around a child.

Karen and Cameron have cared for children as young as 2 and as old as 17. They generally look after young people between the ages of 8 to 12.

The couple enjoys providing fun activities for the children and young people in their care, including days at Adventure Park and bushwalks at the You Yangs.

“You get to see the world through a young person’s eyes,” Karen said.

“You also can keep in touch with the young generation when you normally wouldn’t.”

“The best thing about emergency care and respite is the sheer difference in kids. The variety of circumstances, the variety of reactions, these are the challenges. You get to know the kids and get them to trust you.

As a big part of many children and young people’s lives over the years, Karen and Cameron have many Mother’s Days to look back on fondly.

“Last year, we had a brother and sister, the girl did a lovely card, saying ‘Happy Foster Mum’s Day’,” Karen said.

“That’s really sweet and I’ve still got that. She did it for Father’s Day as well. It makes you feel useful and important, you feel like you’re doing good.”

Karen encouraged anyone who was thinking about foster care to give it a go.

“It is an important role, you are needed,” she said.

“You’re not doing it alone. The team at BCYF are there to support you, and talking to other carers really helps. It helps you realise when it’s really challenging, knowing it happens to others and it’s not just you.

“In years to come, the kids will look back at what you did and that’s important to them.”

BCYF is in urgent need for more Foster Carers in the Barwon region.

For more information on BCYF’s foster care program, visit www.bcyf.org.au/foster-care. People in our community can also support children and young people in foster care by making a donation online: https://www.bcyf.org.au/make-a-donation/

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