For Maitland’s Sharron Thomas, becoming a foster carer was a chance to give children a safe place to call home.
“It’s not easy but it is very rewarding,” she says.
“I suppose knowing that you’re offering a home to children whose parents can’t care for them is the best part.
“These kids deserve to feel loved and safe.”
The mother of four aims to make every child that passes through her door feel like part of the family.
“From day one, I decided that I couldn’t treat any child that came in my front door like they weren’t here forever,” she says.
“We start enrolling in drama classes and swimming classes and we do all those sorts of things that any other child would get to do.”
She adds that her own children are incredibly supportive of the foster children.
“One of my biological sons is so beautiful and the other foster children in our home are so accommodating when a new child comes into our home,” she says.
“They are appreciative of where they have been, they want to help them to fit in, they’re very friendly and respectful.”
Sharron and her partner Matthew have been carers since 2017 and, in those three years, they have welcomed eight children into their home.
The couple currently has three children in their care and, while it hasn’t come without its challenges, Sharron says they will be carers for as long as possible.
Their vital work is now being put in the spotlight as part of Foster and Kinship Care Week (Sunday 13 to Saturday 19 September).
The initiative provides the community with a chance to celebrate foster and kinship carers, while it also marks the start of an important new recruitment campaign.
Currently, an estimated 350 carer households are needed across NSW.
Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services, Gareth Ward, says it is imperative to find children a safe and stable place to call home.
“We need people who are willing to open their hearts and their homes to kids in care, either temporarily or permanently, so that we can continue our work to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children in our state,” he says.
Contact My Forever Family on 1300 782 975 or visit its website for more information.