“God sets the lonely in families;”
At the heart of CityCare’s mission is a desire to see healthy families and safe, inclusive communities. Our Children & Families program exists to help parents build strengths and resilience, provide supportive social connections and create child friendly environments, through a range of different activities. In celebration of Foster Carer Week (13th-19th September), we want to acknowledge the amazing work that Foster & Kinship Carers do in providing loving homes for children from hard places and highlight some of the everyday heroes in our church who have become Foster Carers.
As a single person, Jennifer never thought foster caring was an option for her, until what seemed like a divinely-ordered series of events and connections opened the doors. “I am in my mid-forties, single, and working in the area of youth homelessness, so I could not see how I could do it”, she says. However, people in her life encouraged her that she had a lot to offer and her faith in God gave her the peace to step onto this path.
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a foster carer according to Jennifer is seeing God’s love and provision which is truly unique for each child and watching them flourish. “It reminds me how much God loves us, loves to provide what we need and does not share our limitations”, she said.
However, Jennifer admits that it has also had its challenges, particularly as a single mum working full-time in a challenging role and trying to maintain a work-life balance. Though these challenges are not unique to foster carers, in her case, increased job responsibility just happened to coincide with the beginning of her foster carer journey. It meant she had to work hard at creating space for the regular caseworker and birth family contact visits that come with foster caring.
If anyone is considering becoming a respite or permanent Foster Carer, Jennifer’s encouragement is, “ Just do it. You have more to offer than you think, single, married, renter, homeowner, working, not working … whoever you are, you can do it.” Having done the journey, Jennifer knows so much more about foster caring and shared that there are many different types of foster caring options available. For those who are time poor, respite and emergency care is a good option, and longer term care is great if you want to bring a child into your family permanently. Short to medium term care (2 weeks to 2 years) is available for those who want to provide a stable home for children waiting to have their long-term future plans worked out, and therapeutic care is a great fit for those wanting to provide more intensive care on a temporary basis.
Jennifer has no regrets and is happy to share her foster carer story to encourage anyone considering it. All it requires, she says, “is being able to provide a safe, and emotionally and physically healthy space for a child and trusting God with the rest. The reward and joy from seeing a child flourish makes it well worth it!”