Need for foster carers in Bundy

THE Bundaberg region is still in need of foster carers, despite an increase in numbers from 2007/08 to 2008/09.

The number of foster carer families in the region in 2008/09 rose slightly to 101, up from 96 the year before.

But Child Safety Central Queensland regional director Peter Smales said despite that, ensuring there were enough carers for children in need was complex.

“The more carers we have, the more capacity we have to build up a skill base,” he said.

“Some carers will have expertise in quite young children, while others might specialise in looking after disabled or special-needs children.”

Mr Smales said as part of trying to promote more carers in the region, the department was encouraging “kinship carers”.

“It could be any family, an aunt, uncle or even a sibling,” he said. “They get all the support a foster carer does and it allows the children to stay with a family member.”

Mr Smales said of the 138 children in foster care in the Bundaberg region, about 80 of those were placed in care by a non-government organisation.

About $480,000 in funding has been provided to the non-government organisation to arrange care for foster children in 2010/11.

Member for Bundaberg Jack Dempsey said the system was failing the region's “most vulnerable citizens” by not providing adequate care.

“It is not providing training, it's not providing support and it is not providing carers with all the relevant history about the child they need to be an effective carer,” he said.

“I've heard of a child who was placed with a family without them being told about the child's full medical history in regard to infectious diseases.”

Mr Dempsey, the opposition spokesman for child safety, said despite the funding, it was clear the system was not working.

“Since 2004 we've seen a record budget for child safety from the state government yet the numbers of children in care continue to rise,” he said.

For more information on becoming a foster carer, call 1300 550877.

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