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Frequently Asked Questions
These are questions we are often asked by people thinking about fostering and the wider church community.
Should Christians be involved in the removal of children from birth families?This is a great question and one Fostering Hope and all our carers grapple with. It is never God’s design for children to not grow up with their families of birth. Unfortunately there are situations where parents cannot keep their children safe. When this happens, it is the Government that steps in, first to work with the families of birth so they can have the skills to be the best parents they can be, and if this is not possible, then to remove them. When they are removed, children are placed with people who are approved to provide care. It is never the church or Christian organisations removing children, and it shouldn’t be, it is the responsibility of the Government who work under the relevant state or territory legislation to ensure all children have safe childhoods.
There are no orphans in Australia?There are very few orphans in Australia, but there are thousands of children who’s parents are unable to keep them safe. There are actually very few orphans internationally, with the majority of children put into orphanages actually having one parent still alive. Christians around the world are moving towards closing down orphanages and towards family-based care, which is what we have in Australia. Family-based care is placing children into families where they can attach, belong, and be nurtured with the love of a parent or parents. For more information on this, visit our partner, World Without Orphans. Some state and territories in Australia have foster to adopt legislation, which means if it looks like children will not be reunified with their parents, their foster or kinship carers can adopt them. Other states and territories provide transfer of guardianship, which means the guardianship of the child moves from the Government to the foster or kinship carer. https://worldwithoutorphans.org/
What’s the difference between foster care, kinship care, and informal care?You may notice throughout our website we try and talk about foster and kinship carers or carers. Foster carers are people who choose to become carers, so go through a process in their state to train and then be approved as carers. Kinship carers are people who are known to a child before they are removed from their families of birth, they are usually extended family members, but could be a teacher, teacher’s aide, youth group leader etc. Informal carers are usually extended family members who either see a child in their family is not safe or the parents may seek support from, and they look after the child without intervention from the Government. Fostering Hope’s work seeks to support foster, kinship, and informal carers. We also seek to encourage the church to reach out to all types of carers. Kinship and informal carers often do not ‘choose’ to step into the caring role, so do not receive the same training and support from the Government. They also often become isolated from their own family, as they are the ones stepping into care for a child, and this is messy. We would love churches to support all these carers and the children in their homes.
Foster children are disruptive to our programs and unsafe around other children?One of the saddest things we see is carers feeling they cannot get to church because of their children. Foster, kinship, and informal carers have stepped into the broken to show God’s love and acceptance and it’s a time when they need their church family more than ever! We need our churches to be places of acceptance, healing, and understanding for all children. We encourage you to invite Fostering Hope to host a trauma-awareness training session for your church.
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