As we celebrate Foster Care Week 2020, Victoria is facing an extreme shortage of Foster Carers across the state.
Toddlers are being moved away from the region and primary-school aged children have been placed in staffed residential care units, because there are not enough local carers.
The shortage has now become critical UMFC Carer Management Team Leader Jeanine Aughey said.
"This is probably the most difficult I've seen it," she said.
"We haven't got enough carers to keep children in their own community and COIVD has made the situation even more difficult.
"In the past, it has been easier to find carers for younger children but now we have been struggling with carers for children under five.
In the past, it has been easier to find carers for younger children but now we have been struggling with carers for children under fiveUMFC Carer Management Team Leader Jeanine Aughey
"Currently we have about 70 active households for the region
"It's heartbreaking to see children moved away from home, from their communities."
Jeanine Aughey says Foster Carers come from all backgrounds including married, single people, same-sex couples and families with or without children.
"Some people are worried about applying if they rent or have pets or live on a farm," she said.
"Everyone's situation is different and we're here to answer any questions."
For more information call Jeanne Aughey on (02) 6055 8000 or 0429 552 520.
Common misconceptions about foster care addressed by Jeanne
You have to be a "family"
Often people think foster carers need to be married, have children and live in a home that is owned in the middle of a town. This is not the case - we have carers from a wide variety of backgrounds who live in many different locations and homes.
You have to live in a large town and own your own home
Carers can own their home or be renting, they can live in a house or a unit or on a farm. There just needs to be a safe space for a child to sleep and play.
That you don't have any say over the type of placement or ages of children
Carers choose the type of placement they want to provide and the age range of children they would be providing care for.
There is no support for foster carers
Carers have regular contact with a case managers who provide information and support. Regular training is provided for carers and there is 24-hour support provided for all foster carers.