ANGLICARE is seeking to recruit more foster carers across the Rockhampton region as demand to find homes for abused and neglected children hits new heights.
The charity has in its care 16 children for whom it can't find a home.
The youngsters, who are being shuffled from place to place, are suffering from a system that has been overwhelmed and which relies on the goodwill of families and individuals to provide a stable and loving environment for them.
Just six years ago the Rockhampton Anglicare office had 28 carers on its books. Today it has 77 taking care of 134 vulnerable children aged from just a few days to almost 18. And still it's not enough.
Kathleen Patterson, one of the organisation's recruitment and training workers, said the need to attract new foster carers was continual as the social pressures leading to family break-downs increased.
But she stressed that anyone who put up their hand to help would receive expert training and all the support they needed to help them cope with their new responsibilities.
"Our carers are incredibly committed and it is a huge step to take. Many of the children in our care have been abused and are in need of love and compassion. But carers have a choice about the age and gender of the children they look after and they can specify whether they want a full-time, part-time or emergency respite role.
"Part of our job at Anglicare is to assess what age group would best suit our volunteers and provide the training and support to help them cope with problem behaviour," she said.
People from all ages, background, races and religion are eligible, and once they have been assessed as suitable there is 12 hours of initial training.
"Carers receive an allowance from the Department of Communities of $450 a fortnight to meet expenses, but they are essentially unpaid. It can be very challenging, but they are an amazing group of people and the difference they make to children's lives is incredible.
"Stability is everything to children who have been taken into care and the carers need to be understanding, compassionate, patient and flexible."
Her colleague, Bruce Manly, said he thought the increased demand for foster carers in recent years was due to increased awareness of child abuse and complaints which led to more children being removed from their families.
To inquire about becoming a foster carer with Anglicare, call Kathleen or Bruce on 4927 8200