All God’s Children

Lutheran Community Care SA/NT (LCC) is a South Australian out-of-home care (OOHC) service provider. OOHC is a broad term for different types of care for children who are unable to live with their birth parents and who are under the Guardianship of the Minister for Child Protection. OOHC includes Foster Care, Kinship Care, Adoptions, Residential Care and Specific Child Only (SCO) Care.

The foster care program provided by LCC in South Australia has over 240 children and young people, ranging from infants to teenagers, currently in the care of their foster families in both short term and long term situations. It is a highly valued service to first and foremost the children, their biological parents who for whatever reason are unable to care for their children and the broader community at large.

Felicity is one of LCC’s valuable foster carers and her only regret is that she didn’t become a carer sooner. 

“Foster care kind of found me when I was a midwifery student doing a placement on a paediatric ward and I saw two babies during that week who needed to go into foster care,” says the mum of three adult children. 

“I knew what these children needed was a parent and a home and that I could give them that. The training and assessment took just under a year and I’ve loved every moment of it since,” Felicity says.

Felicity has been a carer for 17 years, mainly helping with long term care, but also offering her home to help with a mix of respite, emergency and short term placements.

The most important thing for any child is that they have a home, and that they have a place where they know they belong, a place where they know they are loved.LCC foster carer

She has four adult children, has fostered siblings who now remain in her Long Term Guardianship care and is also caring for an additional three children in care.

She encourages anyone who has contemplated foster caring to learn more about what is involved. 

“Go to an information session, talk to carers, even if you have a weekend to offer respite for a child, it’s all needed,” she says. “I’m hoping my house is a home for many more children. My only regret is that I didn’t become a carer sooner.”

LCC recognises that children belong and thrive in families and foster carers provide stable, supportive and nurturing homes to help children feel safe and secure while separated from their birth parents and sometimes siblings.

Foster carers are everyday members of the community who have a strong commitment to helping others, especially children. Unfortunately, our nation needs more everyday people who are able to offer caring homes to children and young people who cannot live with their birth families. 

When foster carers invite children or young people in need to be a part of their family, whether that’s for a short time or a long time, it is profoundly life changing for both the children and the carers.

A foster carer is an approved and trained person (not being a guardian or relative of the child) who, with the assistance of a minimal financial allowance, provides care and support for a child or young person in their home. While foster carers come from all walks of life, they have one significant quality in common – a generous heart to provide vulnerable children and young people in need a safe and nurturing home.

Another LCC foster carer is a working professional who hadn’t raised her own children before. In the beginning she had her doubts; she wondered whether or not she’d be a good mum and how fostering was going to fit in with her busy lifestyle and commitments.

In reality, it was only a very short time until she realised how much this little person under her care needed her and how ready and willing she was to put them first and give them the unconditional love that they needed when they needed it.

Every foster carer at Lutheran Community Care is allocated a dedicated Foster Care Case Worker (support worker) who walks alongside them and supports them in their fostering journey. Support Workers journey with the foster carers to provide practical assistance, professional advocacy or a listening ear whenever it’s needed.

The most important part of the foster care program, the children themselves are the centre of everything. “Every aspect of our work is child focused. Any decision made on behalf of a child is in the best interest of the child”, LCC staff member. 

LCC Foster Care Services, from its administration to its support workers, foster carers and their families and the children themselves and their birth families, deserves our prayers and support.

From information supplied by Lutheran Community Care SA/NT.

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Tessa Joppich

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