News

More local foster carers needed

By David Rak

“One person can’t change the world, but I can change the world for one person.”

That’s the simple philosophy Alan and Lindie Luckman live by.

As foster carers for almost three decades, the Yea couple has changed the world for multiple children – so many that they stopped counting when they hit triple digits.

Both in their 60s, Alan and Lindie regularly look after up to four children as foster carers for community service organisation Berry Street.

Unfortunately, despite the tireless efforts of people like Alan and Lindie, there is a shortage of foster carers in rural Victoria.

The socio-economic conditions children experience can influence their likelihood to be involved in the child protection system.

Sadly, regional and remote areas tend to have higher levels of disadvantage compared to metropolitan areas.

Children in remote areas had the highest rates of substantiations – meaning the child needs protection because they have been, or are likely to be, harmed due to violence, abuse and/or neglect.

Berry Street has 39 foster carers in the Hume region who provide different types of care for 47 children, including short term, long term and respite care.

It is putting the call out for more locals to consider becoming foster carers.

Alan and Lindie encouraged people to speak to Berry Street and consider taking on the rewarding challenge of giving a child a safe and secure home.

“You don’t have to be as full on as we are. Berry Street are very flexible with the arrangements and you can decide how much you want to do,” Lindie said.

“No doubt it is challenging. Some of the children that come to us are quite distressed and there is very little background information on them because of their situation.

“But working through those challenges is the most rewarding thing Alan and I have ever experienced.

“Helping a child to overcome obstacles and gain a new, positive outlook on life is a joy that can’t be expressed with words.”

Berry Street Shepparton child and family services senior manager Sharelle Davidson said anyone aged 21 or older could be a foster carer if they had a spare room for a child.

“We are always looking for the right people to help us care for children who can’t live safely at home,” she said.

“People with experience working with children or in community services, such as teachers, disability workers and aged care workers, make excellent carers, as do many others.

“At Berry Street we are only as good as our foster carers and they are the best. Day after day they do an incredible job for their local communities in providing stable, safe environments for the children in their care.”

If you or someone you know wants to be a foster carer, phone Berry Street on 5822 8100 or visit berrystreet.org.au/foster-and-kinship-care/enquire