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“They get into your heart, and they just take up residence there. Whether you want them to or not. That’s what they do.”
While Paula said that it is difficult, and there are some nights that she goes to bed and thinks ‘you’ve got to be joking’ and she dreams for selling everything and taking off in her motorhome once more, she knows she never will.
“Even though on this side of the coin it’s difficult. The other side of the coin is like, the sun coming out over a field of flowers. It’s so rewarding. That why wouldn’t you do it,” she said.
“We can open our hearts, we can step up and we can look after these children. Because you know that saying we’ve all heard it. If not now, then when. If not me then who. So we can do that and we can help fix our communities by stepping up.”
Paula, who has adult children and step-children and assisted in raising other family members, is one of the few carers in Townsville who takes placements of teenagers, providing a safe place and welcoming young people in for a range of respite, emergency and short and long term placements. She calls on her experience working in Australia and internationally in early childhood and her own family.
Dedicated foster carers, just like Paula, are currently playing a vital role in caring for children and young people in need of foster care. Unfortunately though, more foster carers are needed to meet unprecedented demand. Queensland currently has the highest ever ratio of children and young people requiring foster care.
We believe that every child needs a safe and caring home and to belong. Unfortunately, some families and home environments can be complicated and experience significant challenges. During such times, in can be unsuitable and unsafe for children and young people to remain in their family home.
We are here to support them during this time, providing supportive home environments through our foster and kinship care services or residential and supported independent living homes. We help them to maintain and build positive, healthy relationships in safe homes where they can find belonging while they maintain connections to their family, kin, culture and community.
It takes a community to provide a safe and caring home to belong. Anyone who is interested in becoming a foster carer or just wants to start the conversation and find out more is encouraged to visit www.ittakesacommunity.com.au today.