Foster care 101: training to be a carer

Foster care 101: training to be a carer

Congratulations! You’ve successfully passed your initial foster care assessment, now it’s time to hit the books.

Young couple Kelly and Dane Johns* from Northwest Melbourne fill us in on the Baptcare foster care training program they’ve just completed.

“Myself and Dane both come from similar ‘volunteering backgrounds’, our families were always involved in aid and community work,” Kelly said.

“So when he mentioned fostering when we first started dating it wasn’t a big shocker—it was just another aspiration we had in common.”

Even before they had their 11 month old son this was something the couple knew they wanted to do. They’d passed the initial stages of assessment but the arrival of Luke put training on hold for a while.

“We waited till Luke was 5 months till we started training,” she said.Foster Care 101 – training to be a carer

“I was breastfeeding at the time but Baptcare were really flexible and we wouldn’t have done it if we hadn’t been able to take Luke. It’s 25 hours and it’s intense.”

“Our intake officer Ana outlined what training would involve. For instance you know you might meet a child who is suffering from grief, but you don’t know what that might look like or what kind of behaviour a child will exhibit.”

The Johns were surprised at how well-equipped they felt after training was complete.

“You’re given practical coping strategies for children who might be withdrawn or who might act out and it makes you feel ready for all eventualities,” Kelly said.

“You learn to prepare for the worst but you also hope and prepare for the best. It was nice to learn the life story techniques for helping a child build positive memories of their time with you. It reminds you of the small victories and achievements you hope to see along the way.”

“It was also amazing to see how interested Dane was in the academic side of the training. I’d done some youth work and study in that field but he was really blown away by the psychological aspect and the hands-on techniques we learned.”

The Johns are currently on the waiting list and are hoping to get a call soon for their first placement.

“We feel pretty confident and we know that we won’t have all the answers, but we know we can call our case manager anytime for advice and support.”

Baptcare is looking for foster carers in the Western and inner Northern suburbs of Melbourne. If you can open your home to one or more children we’d love to hear from you. Contact Ana on 9373 3800 and start the conversation today.

*All names have been changed.