FOREVER HOME: The foster care system has come a long way, but permanent homes are still needed.
FOREVER HOME: The foster care system has come a long way, but permanent homes are still needed. JOE CASTRO

Foster system needs forever homes

THE foster care system has improved over the years, but many children are still going from home-to-home, never settling down.

As of March 31, 2016 there were 643 foster and kinships carers and 1156 children living with foster and kinship carers in Central Queensland, some of these children will stay with their foster families for years, others for mere months.

Executive director of Foster Care Queensland, Bryan Smith has been working in the foster care system for a quarter of a century and is even a foster carer himself.

Although the system has improved in that time, Mr Smith said there's still work to do, particularly with providing permanent homes for children.

"I've worked in the system for a very long time, it's ever changing,” Mr Smith said.

"Over 25 years it's absolutely gotten better, however we can always do better.

"The system is currently looking at permanency for children and young people.

"We have too many short term custody orders, we need more permanency or long term custody orders so they can feel as though they belong.

"We can do a whole lot better in that sense.”

Not all foster children go through the experience of living with multiple families and there's many reasons why a placement can end, but the goal is to reduce this as much as possible.

"You can have children who come into care, go home then come into care a dozen times,” Mr Smith said.

"In that time remembering children's trauma and behaviour can be very intense and for whatever reason, you can match as best as possible but it doesn't fit, placements break down.

"Some only may only have one placement in their lives, others may 20 or 30.

"The area of permanency has a lot to do with that.

"Kids, once they've broken down placements then get into this thing about, look I'm not going to stay here, I'm doing to break this placement down because I know it's going to breakdown anyway.

"So we've got to work with children and young people a whole lot better and continue to get better so we provide more permanency in their lives.

"With that placement change will drop.”

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer visit Foster Care Queensland at www.fcq.com.au.



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