Daily Archives: June 19, 2015

Supporting Children Through Foster Care

FOR the past seven months, Lyn and Roy have celebrated every positive in their foster child’s life.

“Her first steps, her first words, her first teeth,” Lyn said of the many highlights, “as well as being able to meet and talk to her mum, and her brothers and sisters.”

It is this ability to have contact with their foster child’s birth family that motivated the couple to join Centacare’s Specialist Family Preservation Foster Care Program.

The program offers well supported short-term placements for children aged 0-12 years while they are unable to live at home to prepare them, where possible, for reunification with their families.

Lyn and Roy fostered two children through different programs before turning to Centacare.

The Centacare approach promotes contact between carers and birth families to help support children in a safe environment.

“In the past, we met a mother of a foster child we had and were told we could only stand on the footpath; we weren’t to step inside the gate, she was told she couldn’t step outside the gate, and we were to keep the conversation to the weather,” Lyn said.

“That is where Centacare is just so different in that you can talk to the mum and that stops a lot of confusion and misinterpretation.

“These children, regardless of what’s happened to them in the past, still want to see family and Centacare offers that in a very safe environment.”

Centacare has approved 10 foster households but a total of 22 are needed before the year’s end for the program which has reunited six children with their families over the past 14 months.

Manager Clare Smith said the extensive assessment process took between six to nine months to complete.

Foster carers receive regular on-call contact and high levels of support from Centacare, as well as a competitive allowance and access to ongoing education, training and development.

“We’re part of a bigger picture,” Clare said.

“Our role is to get a child in the best possible place to make that transition, either back home or into long-term care. When you have a team focussing on the child, a team focussing on the parent and a case manager overseeing everyone working together, that’s when you get a good outcome.”

See Lyn and Roy’s full interview here.

To find out more about Centacare’s Specialist Family Preservation Foster Care Program, come along to our next information session on Thursday, June 25, from 6.30pm-8.30pm, at 413 Grange Rd, Seaton. To register, contact 8159 1400, email fostercareenquiries@centacare.org.au or visit fostercare.centacare.org.au

Family dispute resolution

COUPLES navigating separation and divorce – in partnership or alone – now have an extra layer of support through Centacare’s Family Outreach and Relationships Services.

Family Dispute Resolution (FDR) is helping parties to resolve disputes, as well as make difficult decisions, such as how to co-parent children and divide property.

Education/FDR Services Manager Jeannette Fiegehen says the program provides a practical and often less-stressful and costly way to overcome issues out of court and seek advice.

It also helps couples to protect their parenting relationship and manage the impact of separation and divorce on their children.

“It’s an opportunity for a client, or clients, to identify issues, generate options and receive assistance in making their own decisions,’’ Jeannette said.

“FDR enables clients to be more in control of the outcome and promotes a more respectful end to a relationship, rather than an adversarial and conflicted one.’’

While the program is aimed at separated parents, grandparents can also seek help from FDR mediators.

“A lot of the work is with high conflict people, but sometimes one parent or one party will refuse to come to mediation and that leaves the other one not knowing what to do, and this is where FDR support can be helpful,’’ Jeannette said.

Counselling is not offered as part of the service but clients can be referred for further help and support.

“We always recommend they still get legal advice, but it’s a much less stressful process,’’ Jeannette said.

“It’s an independent and impartial process aimed at enabling both parties to isolate and resolve issues in dispute and reach their goals constructively and, where a child is affected, in the best interests of that child.’’

Centacare Adelaide
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