Children need a caring person who has time for them

BIG HEARTS: Rockhampton foster carers Jeffrey and Sandra Ahern are encouraging others to become foster carers too.
BIG HEARTS: Rockhampton foster carers Jeffrey and Sandra Ahern are encouraging others to become foster carers too. Allan Reinikka Rokacarers

FOSTER children are being cared for by same-sex couples, singles, empty-nesters and adults from caring professions as the traditional Aussie family model changes.

After caring for more than 150 children over the past 12 years, Rockhampton foster carer Sandra Ahern says it's not about the family model.

She and her husband, Jeffrey, have raised two girls as foster carers, after having their own children, and have also provided respite care.

"All the child really needs, to me, are a caring person who has the time for them," she said. "There's a child out there that suits every family. We know of single mothers doing it."

Foundations Care's Jason Thatcher said a trend paper recently released by the Association of Children's Welfare Agencies rang true for Central Queensland.

The paper explores the new face of fostering and how it will change in the next 10 years.

Dramatic changes to the traditional Australian family have prompted foster care agencies like Foundations Care to explore new ways to fill an urgent need for new carers over the next two years.

"The multicultural nature of Australia means there is an increased need for carers from culturally diverse backgrounds."

Ms Ahern said she felt some people avoided becoming foster carers because they had heard horror stories of violent foster children with high needs.

"We have a 10-year-old girl who comes to stay with us once a month," Ms Ahern said. "There are so many children out there who need it. You don't have to be superwoman or superman, just a normal person who can be their family."


Learn more

Find out more about becoming a foster carer by going to: and clicking on the Foster and Kinship Care link,or

Foundations Care on 1300 395 005 or visit

Topics:  foster care parents single parents

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