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Foster parents Jenna and David Hitchcock of Aveley with their son Mason and one of the children they care for play in their garden. Picture: ANITA McINNES

Helpers needed to care for kids

INDIVIDUALS and families in the eastern suburbs are being encouraged to consider a selfless and rewarding role as a foster carer.

Aveley foster carers Jenna and David Hitchcock have three children of their own and also care for three children.

The couple said they first became interested in fostering when they were told they would be unlikely to conceive a child together.

They already had Mason, 7, who is Ms Hitchcock’s son from a previous relationship.

Within a short time of becoming foster parents they had conceived two of their own children who were born about 15 months apart.

They said their big family and fostering other children had been fantastic for Mason and he had developed into a kind and compassionate child.

The joys of fostering were many – always having children around, lots of laughter, never a dull moment and the pleasure of watching the children blossom and to be able to make their lives as normal as possible.

Mr Hitchcock said transport was the family’s biggest challenge.

“We can’t afford a bus for them all so we’ve been having to take two cars,’’ he said.

Mrs Hitchcock said people always said to them that they would love to foster and she said their response was to tell them to go for it.

The Department for Child Protection and Family Support’s District Director Lucy Davies said the Department is looking for committed people willing to open their hearts and homes to care for children and young people in need.

Ms Davies said those considering becoming a foster carer who would like to find out more are invited to attend an information session at Cale House, L1 52, The Crescent, Midland on Tuesday 2 August from 6pm to 8pm.

“At the information session, people can find out what it’s like to be a foster carer, and the support and training opportunities available to carers,” she said.

“Foster carers are everyday people who like helping others, especially children.

“They can be male or female, single or couples, same sex relationships, with or without children of their own, working full or part-time, or retired,” Ms Davies said.

She said there are about 370 children and young people in care in the Midland district.

The department is focussing its recruitment efforts on encouraging more Aboriginal people to become foster carers.

“More than 50 per cent of children in care are Aboriginal, and the department strives to place them with their extended family, a member of their Aboriginal community or other Aboriginal carers whenever possible.

“When Aboriginal carers are not available children can be placed with other local foster carers.

“Every child deserves a permanent, safe, stable, and nurturing home, and for children in care this needs to occur at the earliest opportunity to help them overcome the trauma that many will have suffered.

“Fostering has many rewards, but it can also be very challenging, so the department provides a range of supports to assist and equip foster carers with the skills needed to help children grow into strong and confident adults.”

For more information attend the Midland Foster Care Information Session, visit www.cpfs.wa.gov.au or www.facebook.com/Fos
terCareWa, or contact 1800 182 178.

About Anita

Anita Mcinnes received a highly commended in the 2009 WA Media Awards suburban section for her reporting. As a mature age student Anita studied journalism at Curtin University before working in Busselton, Dunsborough and Rockingham with West Regionals. The best part of her job was meeting eastern suburb residents and visiting the many attractions in the area.

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