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i see


…an opportunity to provide love, care and support for a child who really needs it.


FOSTER CARE: VASHTI’S STORY


VASHTI HAS BEEN A FOSTER CARER FOR 25 YEARS.


A REGISTERED NURSE AND MOTHER OF THREE, SHE SAYS HER EXPERIENCE AS A FOSTER CARER HAS BEEN INCREDIBLY REWARDING, BOTH FOR HER AND HER CHILDREN.


“It’s been a great gift for my family - my kids have grown up with other children around. They are comfortable with children who have disabilities, and they understand that different families work in different ways.”


After working with a number of different agencies providing respite and foster care, Vashti joined up with Uniting Communities’ Foster Care program. The program enables people to provide long-term foster care or short-term respite foster care to children aged 5 to 17 years old who have intellectual disabilities or complex needs and can’t stay with their birth families.


* Name has been changed to protect privacy 26 | Uniting Communities Annual Report 2016


Vashti has been fostering 10-year- old James*, who lives with Autism Spectrum Disorder, for 20 months, after looking after him on a respite basis on and off for four or five years. James had been removed from the care of his family and his extended family were also not an option.


That’s where Vashti stepped in. She says that Uniting Communities has been the most supportive and the best of the agencies she’s worked with.





“You get the real highs and the real lows, but it’s about those lovely moments; there’s not one child I’ve fostered that hasn’t had something delightful about them.


“I’ve always had the philosophy that we don’t own our children – any of us,” she says. “Communities are responsible for raising children – everyone should be involved and take care of each other.”


“You can never have enough people in your life who love and care about you.”


Caring for James is easy – the hard part of fostering is often the bureaucracy,” says Vashti. “I’ve had a wonderful experience with Uniting Communities. The staff listen and they support you.”


While she admits it can be hard and challenging work, Vashti says it’s all worth it.


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