The Hunter's largest foster care agency, CatholicCare Hunter-Manning, has today been selected to deliver additional Out-of-Home-Care (OOHC) services as part of the NSW Government's plan to transfer all OOHC from the State government's community services sector to the non-government sector.
The announcement, made by NSW Minister for Community Services, Pru Goward, will see CatholicCare's Foster Care program provide more care to children in the Hunter region.
Director of CatholicCare, Sue Dark, welcomes the announcement and the opportunity to provide more quality support and placements to children needing care from across the Hunter.
"Children are at the centre of our care and CatholicCare has a proud tradition of providing quality foster care to children and young people from across the Hunter for more than four decades," Mrs Dark said.
"With an emphasis on personalised care and support for the child in care and their carers, CatholicCare offers a wide range of support services, ensuring a whole of service approach is offered 24/7 to achieve the best possible outcomes for all entrusted to our care," she said.
The NSW Government's decision to transfer all OOHC from the government community services sector to the non-government sector, is the biggest reform NSW has seen in OOHC and came following a recommendation made by Justice James Wood in 2008.
"I believe the government's decision to transfer OOHC will improve services and outcomes for young people and children," Mrs Dark said.
"We have a great Out of Home Care team, so we're really excited about the opportunity to develop and work towards even better outcomes for children in care.
"One of the unique aspects of CatholicCare, along with our five-year accreditation status, is the many different support programs we offer, such as counselling, adoption services, mental health support, mentoring, disability support, supervised contact, family assistance and youth programs - all provided under the umbrella of CatholicCare.
"This may not seem like a big thing to some, but consistency and familiarity are so important for kids; particularly those who face major challenges; to build trust in an organisation and their staff as opposed to being referred elsewhere for other services or support is a positive thing," Mrs Dark said. "It can often mean more willingness to seek other assistance resulting in, for example, personal development or healing too."
"However state-wide, there are always more children needing care than there are foster carers, so with this news comes the urgent appeal for more foster carers. I invite individuals, families or couples wanting to find out more to call us. Please note: you don't have to be Catholic to be a carer with CatholicCare."
2012 Barnados NSW Mother of the Year, Caroline Fowles of Newcastle, is a foster carer with CatholicCare and is also urging more people to consider becoming carers.
"To have the honour, the absolute privilege of caring for another person's child is a gift, a rewarding and satisfying blessing which benefits all parties and I want to encourage more people to experience the joy themselves," she said.