New resource for children in care: ‘What I need to know in Foster Care’

BCYF has recently created an innovative new resource to better support children and young people in foster care. The new booklet, ‘What I need to know in Foster Care’ focusses on the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing’s Charter for children in out-of-home care – a list of the rights and privileges children and young people are entitled to in care. This list supports the belief every child and young person should expect they will be kept safe and well by all the people who provide them with care.

What I need to know in Foster Care informs children about their rights and helps them explore and answer questions regarding the safe people in their lives, their hopes and dreams for the future, how they would like to further develop their connection to culture. It also informs children and young people about the various ways they can make a complaint if they are unhappy about the care they are receiving.

What I need to know in Foster Care is an innovative way to provide essential information, created specifically for children in care,” BCYF Manager Out of Home Care Jo Dumesny said.

“It is mandatory that all children in care receive information about their rights and who to go to if they need help. Previously, this important information was conveyed in a poster which was not overly engaging, used very adult language and was possibly not in the best format to help children to understand their rights.”

“While there are many resources available, there were none that combined everything a child needed to know in one child friendly booklet. The final product has become an essential part of BCYF’s Out of Home Care process, allowing caseworkers to build rapport and trust, and empowering children to have their voices heard,” Ms Dumesny added.

The resource was created by BCYF’s Out of Home Care team as well as the Policy and Planning team, including Geelong artist and BCYF graphic designer Chris de Hoog. His illustrations ensured an engaging and interactive product.

Children, young people and foster carers were consulted in the development of the booklet and the feedback they provided was incorporated in the final product.

The booklet is given to all children from ages 3-12 years in foster care at BCYF with a set of colouring pencils, to ensure all children can interact with the resource.

The booklet is also available as a free resource for other foster care agencies, with the hope other organisations can better empower and support the children in their out of home care programs. To request a copy of BCYF’s Charter of Rights document, please email media@bcyf.org.au.

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