Foster Care Week 2022

 

Foster Care Week and Carer Celebration Wrap up

Foster Care Week is a sector-wide, annual event celebrating and raising awareness within the wider community about foster care, the carer's role, the issues facing foster carers and the children and young people in care. The events and celebrations held during FCW aim to highlight and appreciate our valuable pool of foster carers and the contribution they make to the lives of children and young people in care in our community.

 

2022 Theme: Commitment to Carers

The Foster care Week 2022 theme celebrates foster carers and their dedication to the children and young people in their care and recognises that carers can’t provide care day to day without the support of the dedicated services that support them so we honoured a “Commitment to Carers”.

 

FCAV provides the following in the lead up to and during foster care week:

 

 

Sector engagement

 

Many carers were able to join an agency celebration or attend the FCAV Carer Celebration & AGM at the Grand Hyatt.  This year we proudly promoted over 25 different events and FCAV staff attended five events hosted by agencies to celebrate their carers.

Agencies and ACCOs hosted a mix of online and in person events to celebrate carers – see here and below calendar.

Although a number of agencies reported postponing in-person events until after the Omicron peak, the sector was able to complete a full calendar of events. Fostering Connections, Agencies and ACCOs also take the opportunity in foster care week to run recruitment campaigns to attract new carers from the community.

The FCAV shared activity across the sector and Victoria wide as a part of the week including:

  • Carer appreciation events and gifts
  • Media and community awareness raising
  • Advocacy promotion
  • Carer Stories campaign
  • Commitment to Carer Awards
  • Becoming a foster carer sessions
  • CREATE Connection event for children, young people, families and carers.

 

#Commitment2carers                    #fostercareweek22                      #FCW22

 

Colin Brooks, MP, Minister for Child Protection and Family Services

 

Happy Foster Care Week to all carers across Victoria from Hon. Colin Brooks, MP, Minister for Child Protection and Family Services.

"Thank you for choosing to make a difference in our community by stepping up to play a critical role, opening your hearts and homes, to support children and young people.

#Fostercareweek22 #FCW22

 

 

FCAV engagement in sector activity

Closing out Child Protection Week, FCAV CEO, Samantha Hauge was thrilled to support the Create Foundation Vic Connection event in Bendigo in early September, with Create’s Victorian Manager, Cathy Create Carnovale.

The event is a chance to celebrate with and for young people with a care experience in Victoria for #childprotectionweek2022.

CREATE Foundation is the national consumer body representing the voices of children and young people with an out-of-home care experience. If your young person isn’t a member yet, check out: https://create.org.au/what-we-do/ 305023399 5864605036884244 2364947072545660262 n

 

 

Thank you to BCYF Barwon Child, Youth & Family for the invitation to have FCAV’s Deb Collard speak at their carer appreciation event on Friday 9th September. Deb presented to around 50 carers, BCYF Board and staff including CEO, Sandy Morrison, who heard about FCAV’s range of supports and programs, and joined Deb in self care activities including a therapeutic hug.

Despite being an online event, BCYF had sent each of their carers a lunch pack and engagement was high.305107973 5872020006142747 772101093820376397 n

Feedback from carers with BCYF is consistently positive and the new Cheryl Flanagan Award, in recognition of exceptional support, is testament to the esteem with which BCYF hold their carers. #commitment2carers #FCW2022

 

Life Without Barriers, Dandenong Office

Deb Collard, Projects Coordinator at FCAV, was delighted to attend and talk about FCAV and self-care at the Life Without Barriers carer morning tea at the Dandenong office during #fostercareweek22. Deb joined a number of LWB carers and some of their young children, the Victorian Child, Youth & Families Director – Panos Massouris, other managers and team members for a carer celebration.

There was a lovely high tea and a new library bag system was introduced where staff can take out Hook inBooks travelling suitcase full of age appropriate books for the carer to 289279736 5907968279214586 7100691514934443156 nuse with the children in their care and whichever are the favourites the children get to keep. Deb’s presentation and self care exercise was well received. Thanks for having us along! #commitment2carers#fcw22

 

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Foster Care Week Sector Events Calendar 2022

 

FCAV Carer Celebration and AGM
Friday 16th September 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM AEST

This year we co-themed our celebration with Foster Care Week and the 30th Anniversary of the Foster Care Association of Victoria and its contribution to increased recognition and improved support to foster carers over the decades, making a difference for carer households, the lives of the children and young people in their care, and, the community as a whole. 124 carers, sector partners, staff and board were in attendance. 

 

FCAV Carer Celebration and AGM Attendees

 

Foster carers, workers and guest speakers including, The Hon. Colin Brooks, Minister for Child Protection and Family Services – Minister for Disability Ageing and Carers,   Matthew Bach MP Shadow Minister for Transport Infrastructure – Shadow Minister for Child Protection and Youth Justice – Shadow Minister for Youth Affairs and Samantha Ratnam MP – MLC for Northern Metropolitan The Leader of The Victorian Greens join us at our Carer Celebration and AGM this year. Unfortunately, I was personally unable to attend due to illness. Feedback has been mixed, but by all accounts being able to be live in person again and for carers to be able to speak to each other, staff and Ministers was well received. A special thanks goes again to the students of Parade College and Penleigh & Essendon Grammar and their teachers - Darrel Cruse and Digby Morrell. Each year students from both schools' Community Service teams dedicate their time to learning more about foster care and assisting with the running of the Carer Celebration as well as supplying Eddie's Backpacks to give to carer households for children and young people in care to take home.

Listen to Minister Brooks’s speech -  https://youtu.be/c4SzXA8GOlg

 

 

 

Carer feedback

 

“It was so great to hear from Sam and Tori and hear their ongoing commitment to carers and kids in our system but also to hear their passion to see the system work better and respect all carers. So proud of all the FCAV have put into improving the documentation system …what a fantastic success…. I was so blessed to meet and talk to a new carer from another agency and really valued that opportunity of learning about her journey into foster caring.” Krissy

 

“It felt so nice to be with people that work in the sector and people like us that fostering a child is our family's life!” Anna

 

“This year I thought would be even better at the Grand Hyatt & 30year birthday to celebrate, it was a massive disappointment.  The speeches (politicians) promising things went for so long that we couldn’t talk to other carers, the food was terrible; one scone, one mushroom sandwich & a couple of biscuits that I think were out of a packet.  No one on our table had eaten breakfast so we couldn’t wait to get out & buy some food.”  Leanne

 

Commitment to Supporting Carers Awards

The FCAV conducted the Commitment to Supporting Carers Awards again this year following the success of the inaugural awards last year. The Awards was an initiative derived to promote the positive difference a commitment to supporting carers has on placements and the lives of carer households by proactively highlighting what great worker support is and what it means, from the carer perspective.

Instances of great carer support are golden in a complex system. They can make or break a placement for foster carers and the children and young people in their homes. Therefore, we gave carers the opportunity to acknowledge a time when they’ve received exceptional support. We asked carers to nominate if they had an instance of great support from an Agency worker.  Nominations closed on the 29th of August and we received over 40 nominations.

 

We work with the CISS team to coordinate as a judging panel, cross checking the nominations and ringing managers to ensure due diligence on all nominations. Congratulations to the 6 finalists announced in the week before FCW and the two winners announced at our Carer Celebration & AGM. See short list here.

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Winner of the Exemplary support reflecting consistently high-level commitment to carers Award:

Madison Kelly – MacKillop Family Services

” Madi is an outstanding member of the MacKillop family, and we would lost without her support and care. She demonstrates a commitment to her carers and children and acts only for the betterment of carers and their families. I cannot begin to express the gratitude and appreciation we have for Madison.” Madi is creative in her thinking and demonstrates reflexivity and responsiveness. She is incredibly thoughtful and makes time to imbed reflective practice in every interaction.”

https://www.fcav.org.au/news/commitment-to-supporting-carers-awards-2022

 

Winner of the Outstanding support in exceptional circumstances Award:

Tamara Bellamy – Anglicare Victoria

“Tamara organised regular (weekly/fortnightly) Care Team Meetings for the carer and child and when the family experienced hardships out of their control, Tamara stepped up and did everything possible to support the placement. The carer said “Her communication was wonderful, extremely responsive and empathetic.  If I had a question, I knew that if Tamara didn’t know the answer, she would find the answer in a timely manner. “After 18 years of fostering, and over 112 babies/children, we have never had an Agency worker who has shown and provided such a commitment to supporting us as Carers!”

https://www.fcav.org.au/news/commitment-to-supporting-carers-awards-2022

 

Advocacy

Foster care week is also an opportunity to highlight advocacy issues and carer support priorities for the FCAV. The engagement and coverage this Foster Care Week included news articles, feature stories and social media posts:

https://www.fcav.org.au/news/advocacy-and-media-foster-care-week-22

We liaised with Victorian Council of Social Service in publicising Foster Care Association of Victoria's advocacy mandate ahead of the election. Page 45 of VCOSS Election platform document for a fairer Victoria, outlines FCAV’s commitment asks from the next Parliament to address the underfunding and under-resourcing of care for children and young people, by carers. http://vcoss.org.au/advocacy/election-platforms/twentytwo/

Links:

 

Carer Stories

For direct promotion of carer voices, motivations and the day to day lived experience of being a foster carer, we promoted a series of carer profiles. Foster Care Week is a time to recognise our remarkable foster carers. We glimpse into the lives of FCAV members to celebrate Foster Care Week 2022.

https://www.fcav.org.au/news/our-foster-carers

#fostercareweek22   #commitment2carers  #FCW2022

 

Thank you to all our members, carers and the community for supporting Foster Care Week 2022.