A rewarding experience

Changing lives: Cahli and her husband have been caring for the same foster child for the past 10 years and find it
Changing lives: Cahli and her husband have been caring for the same foster child for the past 10 years and find it "really rewarding."

Cahli and her husband were living in Sydney with their two very young children when they read a news report about four children found alone in a home with no-one caring for them.

The story made such an impact that Cahli and her husband made the decision to eventually become foster carers.

A few years later, when their own children were a little older, they contacted Anglicare.

They became long term carers for a baby girl who is still living with them today and is now 10 years old.

"My children both love her," Cahli said.

Being a foster carer now just feels like part of Cahli's life, especially after caring for the same child for a decade as a long-term carer.

Cahli acknowledges the importance of allowing children in care to have connection with their birth families, where possible, to help them grow with a greater sense of identity and belonging.

Since the time the fostered child Cahli cares for was a baby, consistent contact has been maintained with her maternal grandparents, and now also with her birth mother.

Anglicare has supported Cahli throughout her journey as a foster carer, providing ongoing training and support.

"We've had a really great case worker for the past four to five years," Cahli said.

"She's very supportive. I can send an email and she'll respond [quickly]."

Cahli's advice to those considering becoming carers is to focus on the positives and to be patient with the child in care to better understand their trauma and to help them move through it.

"You need to be really open with services like schools, because you're an advocate for that child," Cahli said.

"We enjoy every moment of her life.

"If people are thinking about foster care, don't disregard it or think it's too hard.

"I think being a foster carer is really rewarding."

There are many types of foster care including permanent (like Cahli's situation), emergency care, short-term care, respite care, intensive therapeutic care and therapeutic home-based care.

To find out more about becoming a foster carer with Anglicare, go to www.anglicare.com.au.