29 Oct 2020News
Building strong cultural connections for children in care
“It’s a chance to love a child. I feel good that I’m helping someone’s child they cannot bring up. I can provide [them with] a family.”
Linh became a foster carer in 2011. She already had an interest in caring for children, with a Certificate 3 in childcare, and she thought her young son, now a teenager, would benefit from having the company of other children at home.
Linh’s caring journey began with a couple of children on short-term placements, and then an opportunity for long-term care came up. Linh has raised six-year-old Ben* since he was eight months old.
In matching Linh and Ben, SSI considered their shared Vietnamese cultural heritage so that Linh could help to maintain Ben’s connection to his family’s ethnicity and language. SSI believes that these connections help children to develop their sense of belonging and identity.
Through Linh’s influence, Ben understands Vietnamese (although he prefers to answer in English), and is very familiar with Vietnamese food through home cooking and restaurants. Linh and the boys also socialise with others in the Vietnamese community.
“Children need to know where they come from and what nationality and family background they belong to,” she said.
In 2013 SSI became the first multicultural not-for-profit contracted to develop and deliver a culturally appropriate model of foster care in NSW. The establishment of the Multicultural Foster Care Program was the result of years of developmental work by SSI after long recognising the need for a culturally appropriate model of foster care services for CALD children and young people. In 2020, SSI expanded its foster care service into Victoria.
While SSI has a focus on recruiting foster carers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, it is also interested to hear from people of any background who have a genuine interest in providing a safe, caring and stable home for these children and young people. Have your queries answered with the FAQs or take our quiz to see if you are eligible to become a foster carer.
*Names have been changed and a stock photo has been used.