With foster carers needed now more than ever, one Dubbo carer is encouraging others to find some time to help some of our most vulnerable residents.
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Seven years ago Jane Smith (name has been changed for legal concerns) and her family decided they wanted to help kids in need.
"We decided while already having our three children at home, why not help kids in need join our home while we are so active and can share that experience of having a loving caring family," she said.
"We can help the children to find themselves and reach their goals with supportive people around them."
Having helped 45 children in her time, Ms Smith has continued to take in more and more kids because she wants to not only help the "long term" out of care children but to offer respite to other carers and give them a break.
"I enjoy seeing children who were so broken and traumatised just open up and become happy and thrive and succeed in so many things," she said.
It hasn't been an easy road for the carer who has faced her own set of difficulties when taking in different children with their own set of challenges.
"We deal with so many different behaviours and it can be challenging trying to access help with that," she said.
But with the bad comes the good.
"We have had children that we had in our homes contact us and thank us for everything we did for them and how our love and patience has shaped them to become better people and succeed now they're older," she said.
With a "critical shortage" of carers in Dubbo, this has led to a number of young people being left without a home to call their own.
Ms Smith believes due to the rising cost of living and people being busy with their lives has led to the current shortage.
"They might not realise even just a weekend now and then can help out," she said.
With children as young as two not being able to live safely at home, Ms Smith is encouraging more Dubbo locals to look into becoming carers.
"If you can offer even just weekend respite look into it as agencies are very flexible," she said.
"Even just being able to help out sometimes if you work or if there are only certain ages you can take, give it a go, it's challenging but very rewarding."
Ms Smith said it was important to research local agencies and find one that suited your needs.
"If you have a spare room, love and time then just go for it, these kids need you," she said.
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