By Claire Ottaviano
SOUTH Guildford residents Molly and Gareth Lawless are two of 77 general foster carer households helping to fill a shortage of desperately needed foster carers in Midland.
After a year of fostering, the couple are now encouraging others to attend the next Department of Communities (DPC) Midland District foster care information session on August 12 at Cale House.
“We both wanted a family and that didn’t necessarily mean in your stereotypical way,” Mrs Lawless said.
“Gareth wasn’t so much on board at first because the idea of having to give them back and say goodbye was almost a deal breaker –that temporary thing is hard on the heart.
They now have four foster children under their roof after attending an information session last year and completing several months of training.
“At the information session they had current carers talking about their experiences and explaining the different types of care.
“In Gareth’s mind he thought [foster placements] were all short, and you had no control.
“But they asked us what we wanted to put our names down for and it was all up to us to pick the differing levels of disabilities we would consider, short term, long term, emergency, pre-adoptive, there was a range of options.”
While fostering isn’t for everybody, Mrs Lawless said there was no harm in attending a session to find out more.
“When you’ve got more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence,” she said.
“It’s for everyone – you’re getting up in the middle of the night for someone else’s baby crying and doesn’t matter how good it’s been, some days they may still turn around and say, ‘I want my mum’.
“If you’re looking for credit you’re looking in the wrong spot, it’s about keeping kids safe and doing what we can and we love them.”
The Midland DPC office currently has 624 children in care – the highest in any district across the State.
Of the 325 carer placements registered, only 77 of those are general carers, with the majority being family or relative carers.
For more information click here or call 9274 9411.