A TEN-year-old forced to leave her family after a traumatic event now has a safe and secure home thanks to the dedication of Sydney foster care agency Creating Links and her carer.

The girl Meredith* felt lost, unloved, fearful of the future and anxious about where she would be going next.

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 The team at Creating Links – a not-for-profit foster care agency placed the girl with carer Thelma*, and through her commitment and empathy, Meredith was able to settle into a new home.

Meredith will now live with Thelma until she turns 18-years-old.

“I run a tight ship at home but the kids know that I am there for them no matter what,” Thelma said.

“They love the routine and predictability that I am able to offer. Many children don’t have that. I am so glad I can give this to them”.

Thelma also said that her role as a foster carer was well supported by the team at Creating Links.

“Help is only a phone call away, even after hours”.

Creating Links out of home care manager Tamena Yarak said foster carers make a huge difference in the lives of children who are no longer able to reside at home.

“Providing a safe, nurturing home environment for children makes a huge difference and can be tremendously rewarding.” Ms Yarak said.

Creating Links recently had a four-year-old girl placed into their six-week Immediate Placement Program.

The foster carer Suzie* worked intensively with the agency and family to support the child’s move to be with her family.

“It was so fulfilling knowing that I was helping children to reunite with family where it is deemed to be safe enough,” Suzie said.

“I really enjoyed being included as part of the team at Creating Links and felt heard about what I thought would be a good outcome.”

Creating Links helps children across Sydney but the need to recruit new foster carers is at a critical level.

The organisation is on the lookout for new foster carers and promises potential carers a high level of support as they look after children

“We work very closely with carers from all walks of life, and our team is available 24/7” Ms Yarak said.

“Carers receive training to ensure the experience is rewarding and that they have the skills, knowledge and resources to meet the ever changing needs of children in care.”

Creating Links is reaching out to Sydney’s LGBTI community to help meet the demands for new carers in Sydney. Both short-term and longer term placements are needed.

Ms Yarak said there’s an urgent need for foster carers and Creating Links welcomes enquiries from potential carers from all over Sydney.

“Carers can be married, single, defacto, and same sex couples. They need to be able to provide a safe, secure, and nurturing environment for children and young people.”

Ms Yarak said that carers also need to be patient, consistent, predictable, understanding and empathetic. Most importantly they also need to have a sense of humour.

Understandably, the process to become a foster carer is a rigorous one; a person must complete a Working with Children check, attend an information exchange session, undergo a health check, provide references of two people who have known them for more than 12 months, participate in a number of assessments, and agree to a home inspection to ensure their property is suitable.

Another distinct feature of Creating Links’ services is it is only one of two agencies catering to the needs of people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and aims to place CALD children with people from the same or similar cultural or religious background.

The decision to become a foster carer is a big one and Ms Yarak said the team at Creating Links is available to help potential carers understand what is involved and how to apply.

“We want members of the LGBTI community to know that we would absolutely welcome their enquiries or interest in becoming a foster carer. Our friendly team can provide information, advice, and support to assist people make the decision on whether fostering is right for them.” Ms Yarak said.

* Names have been changed to protect identities.

To find out more information about how you can become a carer, give the friendly team at Creating Links a call on 02 87137700 or email at foster- [email protected]

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