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Your views: On a foster mother's despair

Reader contributions

Today, readers comment on Ali Clarke’s recount of the troubling experiences of one woman in the foster caring system.

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Commenting on the story: A foster mother left bereft by the system

Just picked up my foster son a day early from a two-day camp organised and supervised by case managers and the agency’s psychologists.

A condition of the child attending the camp was that if the child became difficult to manage the foster carer would be called to pick up the child.

So clearly the agency doesn’t have the answers to how to cope with difficult behaviours in these kids, even for just two days with a staff-to-child ratio of 1:4.

The psychologist/caseworker who is “teaching” me what strategies I need to use to manage my child’s behaviour (and enforcing those strategies as the only ones that are acceptable) is the same psychologist/caseworker that is calling me to come pick up this child when it gets too hard for her. I was there within an hour. – Name provided (kept anonymous to protect the identity of the family)

I am the CEO of Grandparents for Grandchildren. We are currently supporting over 1000 families where the aged, poor and kind-hearted are keeping children safe and out of the child protection system. It’s a struggle for all of them, some a lot more than others, but always a struggle. Many have experienced the issues you detail and worse.

Some have spent tens of thousands of their hard-earned savings to keep their grandchildren, or even great-grandchildren, safe. Most get no funding and little support, other than what we and other similar organisations are able to provide from our modest resources. This is not news to us. It’s just a continuous tragedy and struggle. – Mike Feszczak

It’s very sad that this mother has gone through this dispiriting experience. However, I would like to point out that there is another side to these stories. As foster parents ourselves, my wife and I actually received significant support from DCP who offered more than we were willing to accept.

My wife and I had tried IVF three times and failed each time and ultimately decided to foster a young child. We took on a 10-month-old boy and we wanted to enjoy as ‘normal’ a family as we could. So we (politely) declined almost all of the support that DCP offered.

We have now been lucky enough to be awarded legal guardianship of the most beautiful little man who is now eight years old and thriving. I recognise that our situation is perhaps not the norm, but we were supported by DCP workers and staff through all of the journey and they were professional and caring and offered us significant support in the court proceedings. We also knew that further emotional and respite support was available, something that we are fortunate not to have needed. – Name provided (kept anonymous to protect the identity of the family)

And they wonder why people don’t put their hand up. Any contact with any government department seems to be a nightmare. This is so tragic for all concerned as well as for all the other children needing love and care who will miss out because good people know they couldn’t handle this scenario. – Sharyn Rogers

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