BILL Tilley was almost apologetic when he reeled out how much money his party had poured into foster care in front of the people who know how stretched the service is.
But the member for Benambra changed the mood in a moment and brought tears to the eyes of many when he told them just how much foster carers meant to him.
“I vividly remember the day Melinda left our family,” he said.
In front of foster carers, Upper Murray Family Care workers and the children they look after, Mr Tilley bared his soul.
He spoke about his parents’ separation in 1969 and a new man, a Vietnam veteran, who came into their lives.
His mother fell pregnant with her fourth child and the veteran left.
“I still remember Melinda really well at home for three months there before she was eventually fostered out ... I vividly remember the day Melinda left our family.”
The family and Melinda have reconnected and Mr Tilley said she now lives in southern NSW with a family of her own.
He said she was thankful for the foster family who took her in.
“It’s the care and attention of foster carers that gave her what she is today,” Mr Tilley said.
He paid tribute to foster carers, saying they were brave people.
“I thank you so much.”