Saints! That’s what some people have called Yellow Rock couple Sharon and Simon Green who have been foster carers for the past eight years, taking in a dozen children.
Since joining MacKillop Family Services earlier this year, the Greens’ family has grown to include a seven-year-old boy, James, who they have adopted, a four-year-old girl, who they are in the process of adopting, and an 21-month-old boy in long-term foster care.
They are now urging other people to consider becoming foster carers during MacKillop Family Services’ Foster Care Fortnight.
“We started out doing a lot of respite care once a month, generally weekend work, but soon realised we wanted to take on a child on a more permanent basis,” Mrs Green, 50, said.
“Providing respite care is often a great way to dip your toes into the water of foster care. It made us realise we wanted to provide a safe and loving home for children in need,” she added.
Unable to have their own children, Mr Green, 49, said being foster carers had “given us a family”.
“People with grown-up children do it too because they want to give someone a stable and nurturing home.”
The Greens said at times it had been a bit of a rollercoaster — they had one child for a year and she returned to her mum.
“But [our current foster daughter] fixed that, she came soon after,” Mr Green said.
Foster Care Fortnight is a MacKillop Family Services initiative and was established to highlight the urgent need for more foster carers across Australia. It ends on Saturday, August 31.
“We urgently need foster carers to provide stable, loving care for vulnerable children and young people,” MacKillop CEO Micaela Cronin said.
“We hope more people with hearts as big as Sharon’s and Simon’s think about foster caring during our Foster Care Fortnight.”
A spokeswoman for MacKillop, Louise Carson, said the group provides all foster carers with ongoing support and training and regular breaks. Foster carers are also entitled to financial reimbursements. Ms Carson said there were more than 18,000 children in out-of-home care in NSW and an extra 900 foster carers were needed in NSW over the next two years.
The Greens said they have had a lot of training and, having asked for 0-2 year-olds in permanent care, have encountered few behavioural issues.
“We were ignorant about fostering but look how it’s ended up,” Mr Green said. “We
wouldn’t have it any other way.”