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“They helped me with group and one to one sessions with a clinician. I really felt supported.”James
“The training I received was helpful in understanding how to respond to children in a trauma informed way, learning patience is key.”Clare
“For me, fostering was never a question of if, but a question of when.”Leonie
James had previous experience in other states before coming to Lighthouse, his work meant that he needed to move to Victoria so when he made the move, he contacted us about becoming a Carer.
After his training and accreditation, he met Terry and 8-year-old boy and started a short term placement. Because of Terry’s experiences before coming into care, he often responded in ways to express his trauma. This could at times be challenging and difficult for James. Terry would often be bouncing around, unable to stay still. When he found things tough, he tried to break things, throw them and call James names.
To support James, Lighthouse Therapeutic Carers went into the home 3 nights per week. They role-modelled ways that James could respond to Terry using play, curiosity, acceptance and empathy. Sometimes our Therapeutic Carers looked after Terry so James could have a break.
Terry would also stay with us in our Hub Home every second weekend and engaged in the Lighthouse community through activities and events where he was able to meet and spend some time with other young people in care. Terry started to feel he had a place he belonged.
James said that ‘I found some days really tough but was able to contact one of the team at Lighthouse to talk through how I was feeling, and they helped me by taking part in group reflective spaces and one to one sessions with a clinician. I really felt supported.’
James was committed to showing Terry that despite the hard times, he was there for him and was not going to leave. This commitment and patience showed Terry that he could trust James and he started to feel safety in their relationship, and slowly started to realise he did not need to push and test whether James would always be there for him.
Clare has been caring for children in foster care for the past 10 years. As a single woman, she sought out Lighthouse after researching local agencies and enquired with us highlighting an interest in our Model of Care and support available for Foster Carers. Clare was new to the foster care system in Victoria, so she was asked to complete a new assessment.
Clare said that she was really impressed with Lighthouse’s professionalism, throughout the whole process since putting in her application. ‘I really felt Lighthouse was clear and approachable’ Our care team provided timeframes and answered all her questions and Clare told our team ‘I was very impressed with Lighthouse’s therapeutic approaches to caring; I felt a sense of a real team approach in the program. The training I received clarified how to respond to children in a trauma informed way, learning patience is key, which really helped reflect on previous experiences and how I can continue to grow and learn.’
It all began when I was given a foster care pamphlet 20 years ago and since then I’ve never looked back. I was a young mum of two, who were under the age of two, and I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude – we had everything we could ever need. I wanted to give back on a personal level and provide a sense of giving that would be a guiding value to our family.
My biological children knew no different – they had foster siblings that would stay for varying lengths of time and they knew that how we helped each would need to be different. They learned compassion and patience and that love is simply love. Our family adopted a very special boy, Alex, at the age of two and he holds equal amounts of space in our hearts, as we hold for each other.
Reflecting back on some of the foster placements we took on at places other than Lighthouse, we weren’t provided with much detail prior and there was an absence of trauma-informed training and ongoing psychological support. That is what sets Lighthouse apart.
Had we been better prepared to deal with each child’s individual needs and experiences and had foster family matches been considered with the same rigor as Lighthouse, I think we could have been more effective in helping to heal and grow these children like we did with Alex. Had our program offered the lifelong extended family network that Lighthouse does, we’d know that each foster child we cared for would always have someone walking alongside them, during both the highs and lows of their life.
I do believe that foster children in Lighthouse’s programs are far more likely to rebuild and maintain relationships with their birth families, which is the ultimate goal of fostering.
Lighthouse recognises those who so deeply want to care for these vulnerable children and young people in the way they deserve, and they build training and support around them so they can fulfil that goal. No other fostering program leans in like Lighthouse does. I truly believe what they provide makes the most impactful difference for everyone involved – all members of foster families, birth families, the community and society more broadly.
Foster care is provided by people in their own homes for children and young people who cannot live with their families. Where it is in their best interest, children and young people are reunited back with their family as soon as possible.
There are four main types of foster care that you can provide; long-term, short-term, respite and emergency. When you become a foster carer you can choose the types of care that best suit you and your circumstances.
On average it takes six to nine months to become an accredited foster carer.
However, everyone’s circumstances are different. This process is a collaboration between you and our Lighthouse team, who will schedule visits, organise training and assessments at a pace that suits you.
Yes. Children in foster care need privacy and a neutral space to call their own. This means you need to have one spare bedroom in order to become a foster carer. Some agencies may accept people without spare bedrooms to care for babies but this is on a case-by-case basis.
When you become a foster carer, Lighthouse supports you every step of the way. Lighthouse has 24/7 on-call workers so you can access support at any time of the day.
There are also carer support groups and events that you can join and free training that you can attend to build your skills.
There is also the Foster Care Assocation of Victoria which provides support and advocacy for foster carers. This includes the Carer Assistance Program, a free counselling and support service and the Carer Helpdesk to assist with administrative issues.
No. As a foster carer, you can decide when you want a child to come and stay. You can also decide to take a break in between children coming into your care. Whilst there is a great need for foster carers, your well-being is the first priority.
Before a child comes and stays with you, Lighthouse will share as much information about the child as possible so that you can decide if it is right for you.
Before accepting a child to come a stay, you can ask as many questions as you like such as:
Sometimes a child may come into care very at short notice and there isn’t a lot of information available yet. Lighthouse will do everything we can to find out as much information and provide this to you.
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