30 Aug 2022Features
A community of carers
The community of carers weaved throughout SSI’s programs ensures there’s always a helping hand when someone reaches out for support.
For Newcastle couple Adam* and Leo*, joining this community was a breath of fresh air.
Four months into working with SSI, Adam and Leo are finding their placement with two teenage brothers a smooth ride when backed by an agency they can lean on.
“We actually get our own case worker for us as well, which has been pretty amazing!” said Adam.
Here’s how SSI is set up to support foster carers.
The carer community
Carer support workers
While every child in foster care is assigned a case worker, every carer with SSI also gets their own support worker.
Alia Nahas, who manages foster carer assessment and support at SSI, says this role keeps carers in the loop and helps support them to maintain their own wellbeing.
“Sometimes carers can feel confused about aspects of the case, or they’re not sure about something to do with the children,” Alia says.
“They’ll often come to the carer support worker and ask for help, and they’ll sort it out together.”
This direct point of contact has greatly aided Adam and Leo, who feel like they can receive answers for any question they may have.
“Just having someone you can call and ask anything is great. They can tell you ‘Don’t worry, that’s really normal’ or ‘I’ll look into that for you’,” explains Adam.
Carer support groups
Carers looking for further help and a friendly face will find it in the support groups run and delivered by the SSI team once a month.
Offered in four languages, with additional cultural sessions for certain groups, these open sessions give foster carers a place to discuss their experience with those on the same journey.
“It’s a chance for all the carers to come together and bond, to be a part of a community group that can help them work through things,” says Alia.
On call support
All carers with SSI have additional access to a 24-hour line in case they need help handling situations that happen after hours.
Managers from SSI teams answer the calls on a rotating roster, giving carers advice and direction to help with a range of potential problems that could arise.
When a foster carer had a child who couldn’t get to sleep, Alia picked up the phone.
“They were getting quite distressed because it was late and this young boy just refused to sleep,” she recalls.
“She said ‘What do I do? I tried everything!’ and we helped her communicate with the child to find out what was wrong.”
After talking it through with the carer, Alia even offered to have a member of SSI’s team come out and help.
Fortunately, the carer was able to find out the child had had a nightmare and coax them back to sleep, all with SSI’s support.
You’re not in it alone
Becoming a foster carer doesn’t come without a few challenges but knowing that the SSI team can provide foundational support makes everything easier.
Having this strong community behind you will mean you can be at your best while providing the best care to the children you foster.
Interested in becoming a foster carer? Learn more here.
*Names have been changed and stock image used to protect the privacy of individuals.