Anna Cooper, State Manager for Foundations Care Ltd, reminds us of the great work our foster carers do for our young people and how our local community desperately needs more of these amazing people. Through Foundation Care Ltd , foster carers can help give every child the best chance at all things in life.
What is Foundation Care, and describe the services you provide?
Foundations Care Ltd is part of the Community Services Group, a family of companies providing human service supports across Australia, who share and are committed to the ongoing development and enrichment of life outcomes for the individuals, families and communities who require or seek support. Our services are underpinned by a clear mission and vision and are supported by a practice framework based on fundamental human rights – respect and value of all people, service innovation and integrity. We seek to develop, empower and enable all who choose to access our services by encouraging choice and autonomy, enhancing skills and expecting valid out comes.
Tell us about your team in New England?
We have an amazing team of qualified staff (most of whom grew up in the New England region, or who studied and stayed within the New England). We cover the entire New England region, Armidale, Inverell, Tamworth, Guyra, Glen Innes, Tenterfield, Moree, Gunnedah and Narrabri. We also have teams on the Far North Coast and Hunter regions.
NSW State Manager, Anna Cooper – was born and bred in the New England area. Her entire studying and working career has been in the New England, starting with ADHC and then moving across to what was DoCS at the time and now FaCS. Anna jumped at the opportunity for Manager Case Work with Foundations Care in 2013 and states, “It was the best decision I could have made. Foundations Care are an agency who truly value their staff and are genuinely interested in the best possible outcomes for children, young people and their families.
HNE Service Manager, Wade Burt, is a North West New England local. Raised in Werris Creek, Wade spent 11 years in the disability sector, managing various programs prior to jumping across to Out of Home Care (OOHC).
Case Work Managers, Leah Lawrence and Wendy Hardman, also grew up in the New England region. Their local connections and passion for local solutions to local problems complement the Foundations team.
Youth Work Manager Demian Coates, whilst not raised in the New England, did study within the New England and fell in love with the vibrant local community and culture.
Policy Officer, Laura McLean is another product of the New England, who mixes evidence based practice with theoretical knowledge to support our most vulnerable, children and young people.
We pride ourselves on being community focused and supporting those in need. We provide:
Foster care services – loving homes for children and young people who are in need, cared for by skilled and caring adults.
Youth Support Services – including youth mentoring, training for adolescents and placement support, alongside community development, volunteer work and involvement. All of our team want to ensure that local children stay within their local community.
How important is a foster carer to children in need?
I can’t overstate the importance of a foster carer for children and young people within the Out of Home Care (OOHC) System. Foster Carers are ordinary people, doing extraordinary things. Foster parents provide the day to day care of the child and become the main care givers; they offer a safe and nurturing family environment for children and young people needing care. Most children and young people who require foster care come from a background of trauma and/or abuse; they need love, patience and an advocate who will take a genuine interest in the needs of any child or young person who is placed with them.
How are the children’s biological family involved in the process of reaching the best results for the children?
Knowing who you are and where you come from is an important part of our identity. There is evidence to suggest that children and young people in care are more likely to reach the best possible outcomes when there is contact and involvement with their family; this can be biological parents, siblings, extended family and significant others. The amount of involvement and contact with biological family varies on a case by case basis. Even with long term care and adoption, there is some form of contact for children and young people. Where possible, we try to ensure the child has meaningful and regular contact with their family.
Who can become a foster carer? And how?
Children and young people who require foster care come from diverse and varied backgrounds, as do foster carers.
We need people who want to make a difference, people who want to create strong outcomes for the future, people who can support someone in being the best person they can be.
Carers may be married, single, gay, straight, own their home or rent, be young or older and be from any cultural background. We are looking for everyday people who are interested in providing all types of care, including overnight, emergency, respite or permanent care. We are also looking for those people who want to adopt or to provide a permanent home to a child in need.
You will need to be over the age of eighteen years, be an Australian resident and be prepared to have a Working Children’s Check and Australian Federal Police Check. The assessment process will be explained in further detail when you apply. To make an initial enquiry with Foundations Care, go to
www.foundcare.kids.org.au or phone
(02) 6707 1000.