Last week YLO Counselling & Intervention Services had the privilege of attending a morning-tea celebrating Foster & Kinship Carer Week. Foster & Kinship Carer Week is an opportunity to stop and acknowledge the hard work, support, love and care that foster and kinship carers provide every day and every week to our children and young people in care. Foster and Kinship Carer Week, held from 1 to 7 March, is a celebration of the dedication and commitment of Queensland’s foster and kinship carers who provide children and young people with a safe, loving and stable home.
There are currently more than 4700 carer families in Queensland who find room in their hearts and homes for more than 7400 children and young people in care. It gave us the opportunity to meet and listen to various foster and kinship carers and find out what their needs are and what are the unique challenges that face foster and kinship carers each day. Foster and kinship carers often experience challenging behaviours, disrupted attachment behaviours and significant trauma or developmental issues within the children they foster and care for. In addition, foster and kinship carers are often placed in the middle between Department of Child Safety, the foster child and the biological parents. As a result there can be significant stress and burn-out associated with being a foster or kinship carer. However, true to their nature, foster and kinship carers are much more adept at providing daily care and meeting the physical and emotional needs of their foster children and families then they are at self-care. Most of the foster and kinship carers we met this week reported they didn’t have time or didn’t think about taking 15 minutes each day for themselves or engaging in relaxing or pleasant activities. In addition, there appears to be considerable stigma around reporting carer stress or burn-out in that it may be perceived as not coping, or the child’s placement is not stable. However, carer stress can be managed through learning new ways to reduce your own stress and anxiety levels, use of respite care and ensuring a strong social support network including family, friends and your foster care agency support.
Self-care is not about acting selfishly. Instead, healthy self-care is about listening to your body and finding ways to function effectively in the world while meeting the multiple challenges of daily life with a sense of energy, vitality, and confidence. It is foolhardy to think we can be providers of care to others without being the recipients of proper nurture and sustenance ourselves. Self-care is not about doing more, or adding more tasks to an already overflowing “to do” list. Instead, healthy self-care is as much about “letting go” as it is about taking action. It has to do with taking time to be a human being as well as a human doing. Did you know that it is a well-proven fact that self-care and time for ourselves is not only an effective way to manage and reduce stress it also makes us better parents, spouses, employees and friends.
Some top tips on self-care and finding ways to reduce stress and anxiety specifically dedicated to Foster & Kinship Carers:
If you are a foster or kinship carer in need of support, please contact us to find out how we can help you!
Our clinic address is: Shop 5, 2770 Logan Road, Underwood, 4119.
Our clinic is located in Underwood Village, on the corner of Logan Road & Underwood Road.
There is free parking and close public transport to ensure easy access by our clients.
Our clinic provides a child and adolescent friendly environment that supports differing modalities of intervention. The clinic provides for wheelchair access.