$2m foster care boost

WITH the need for foster carers in the Bundaberg region growing, one church-based group working in the field has been buoyed by a $2 million State Government grant.

The Churches of Christ Care's Pathways Bundaberg Foster and Kinship Care Service will get the money over three years.

Churches of Christ Care director David Swain said the grant would allow them to offer extra foster placements.

"This will increase the numbers of places funded to 100 on average or between 95-104 placements - that is 20 more families, children and young people we can help," Mr Swain said.

"It means Pathways will be able to support more children who for various reasons are unable to live at home, allowing them to live in safe and nurturing environments and help them find a path to a brighter future."

Mr Swain said there was always a high need for foster carers.

"Sadly, the numbers of children in care is growing each year so the need for foster carers is also growing," he said.

"We currently support 80 children and young people and the funding is for another 20 places."

Mr Swain said the funding package would also support 10 specific indigenous placements in the Central Queensland region and would enable children and young people with moderate to high needs to be placed with foster carers or with relative carers in the community in which they live.

Churches of Christ Care Pathways Bundaberg also supports five children with complex needs in specialist foster care and five young people transitioning to independence through a Semi-Independent Living program, as well as the existing 70-80 foster care families.

"In Bundaberg, Pathways assists children and young people to find a foster or kinship carer who can provide support in a caring environment, but there is need for more foster carers," Mr Swain said.

"We are always looking for more people who are willing to take on the challenging yet rewarding role of caring for a child or young person during a difficult time in their life."

He said Churches of Christ Care, through the Pathways program, provided alternative care for a number of children and young people across the state including fostering services, small group homes, and semi-independent services.

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