Just a year into being a foster carer, Emma, who lives on a farm near Narromine, said she couldn’t imagine her life any different.
Western NSW needs more than 70 new carers this year to cover emergency, respite, short and long term care.
Emma and her husband Nathan have fostered 16 children to date, some for just a weekend and others for months.
“I just love that they may be here for a few days, or they may be here for six months, but we try to give them the best few days that they remember,” she said.
While she had always wanted to be a foster carer, Emma said she was under the misconception she couldn’t do it when she had children of her own.
Once she spoke to a friend who had been caring for children on the weekends, Emma’s concerns were cleared and she realised how flexible the system was.
“We can’t imagine our lives without it now. It is the best thing we’ve ever done. You have your ups and downs but it’s very rewarding,” she said.
“If you’ve got the room and the time and the love to give, you can do it. There’s nothing stopping you.
“Even if you can just help one child, you can save one child’s life.”
Currently, Emma and Nathan are providing short term care for an 11-year-old girl, as well as regular respite for a six-year-old boy and sibling girls aged five and two. She also has three children of her own aged 3, 10 and 13.
Challenge Foster Care ensured the children placed in her care fit in with the family, Emma said, and the parents ensured the boys were comfortable.
“It’s great for my children. It shows them how lucky they are to grow up in a stable home,” she said.
Emma fosters the children through Challenge Foster Care. The organisation was extremely flexible she said, allowing for people to foster just on weekends or during set times of the year.
It’s also open to a wide range of people from empty nesters, to single people to gay couples.
People interested in finding out more about foster caring can visit the Fostering NSW website fosteringnsw.com.au or call 1800 236 783.