It’s one of the saddest facts of life in Western Australia: children who effectively have no functioning family. So… have you ever considered being a foster carer for a child in need of a home? MercyCare’s Dr Nicola Howe urges discovery readers to think about the possibility.
“Sadly, there are growing numbers of unlucky Western Australian children who will be reported as being at risk in their family environment,” Dr Nicola Howe, Group General Manager, Organisational Development for MercyCare told the CFL.
“We understand the complexities at the heart of child protection, and the need to balance the rights of the child to a safe and happy life, with the need to strengthen parental capacity to create a safe environment for the care of children.
“Our response is to develop innovative solutions which will improve the lives of many vulnerable children at risk in their family setting and, where necessary, outside of it,” she said.
“Family connection is vital for children, so one of our responses to need has been securing foster carers who will take groups of siblings; brothers and sisters are then kept together,” she said.
One of the first Agencies to return the Organisational Survey form was MercyCare.
Dr Nicola Howe. Group General Manager, Organisational Development was very pleased to share the work of MercyCare. She said, “In November 1999, the Perth Congregation of Sisters of Mercy instituted a new organisation named MercyCare, with a lay Board of Governance. MercyCare now provides a diverse range of health, aged care, employment, training and community services to the sick, frail and most vulnerable in the community”.
“Our Foster Care Program”, Nicola said, “recruits and trains families and people to become foster carers, medium to long-term for children aged 0-17 years who are unable to live with their parents”.
Nicola said “This year we are introducing a privately funded programme called ‘Foster Care Plus’ which ensures that each of the children in our foster care program are provided with the health care they so desperately need and the extra-curricular activities that other children take for granted.”
Dr Nicola Howe was asked how readers of discovery could help.
“There are two ways you can support our work,” she said. “One way is to consider being one of our foster carers for a group of siblings (minimum two). Come and speak to some of our foster carers and staff to find out more about the rewards of providing the love and care for children in need. Many Christians find this a very enriching way to give love. Heaven knows we need more carers”.
Another way she said help could be given was to support such children by providing financial contributions to the work MercyCare does in this area.
“We seek your donations so we can provide each child in the MercyCare Foster Care programme with private health insurance; a full-paediatric and development assessment; necessary care interventions (speech therapy, psychology, physiotherapy) and remedial tutoring where required.
“We also try to provide at least two of the following activities for each child: music lessons, participation in a team sport, solo sport, art, theatre or dance lessons for each child and their foster care siblings”.
Other ways people can be involved in MercyCare’s help for children can include becoming an adult “older sister” or “older brother” for support and mentoring, or weekly baby-sitting support for the foster-care family.
Support for Parents
If you would like further information on all their services please contact 9208 4444.
Children at risk
To help support these Western Australian children, please contact the MercyCare Foundation on 9208 8468 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or view their website on http://www.mercycare.com.au
MercyCare fills gaps in ordinary lives
One of the first agencies to return the CFL’s Organisational Survey form was MercyCare. Dr Nicola Howe, Group General Manager, Organisational Development (pictured) was pleased to share the work of MercyCare with discovery. She said, “In November 1999, the Perth Congregation of Sisters of Mercy instituted a new organisation named MercyCare, with a lay Board of Governance. MercyCare now provides a diverse range of health, aged care, employment, training and community services to the sick, frail and most vulnerable in the community”.