Foster caring a community effort

This Foster Care Week (10-16 Sept), Kiama Downs couple Shirley and Alan Rowe are keen to encourage others to get involved in the fostering of children in need.

They have been fostering through the South Coast-based William Campbell Foundation for five years, and have found the experience rewarding, if not always easy.

“We thought about doing it for a long time, and the truth is we just ran out of excuses,” says Alan.

“We didn’t want to regret not trying it.

“If you are in the mindset, we recommend you give it a go when you are ready, but do it on your terms so it doesn’t feel a burden.”

They have cared for 12 children over the years, with the most recent one being a three month old and the oldest being 15. One child lived with them for almost two years, while most have stayed with them in crisis care for about two months. They find the shorter stays give them the flexibility they want to travel and juggle other commitments.

“The children live with us as members of the family, not as guests,” says Shirley. “We give them a loving environment and structure where they can function better.”

“All the kids are good children, they’ve just led traumatic lives,” says Alan. “They benefit greatly from the input of the whole community, including schools and neighbourhoods, in helping them be the best they can.”

They believe that if the work is put in now chances are the children will be well-adjusted, functioning adults, which is the result society wants.

If you are interested in finding out more, contact wcfoundation.org.au

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