Recent news reports about the Tasmanian child protection system needing a complete over-haul are not new. There is a similar crisis right across Australia – much of it a consequence of the sheer numbers of needy children and families. Over 1,000 Tasmanian children cannot go home each night because it is too dangerous for them to do so.
The Minister responsible for children, Jacquie Petrusma, has promised to reform the child protection system “from the bottom up”. Please be praying for Minister Petrusma and the redesign reference group as they map out the changes over the next six months.
There is more we can do. Tasmanian Children’s Commissioner Mark Morrissey stated recently that children being bounced around from home to home is very detrimental to them. “If we can cut back multiple placements, we can cut back on the flow into the justice system”.
One reason for multiple placements is the severe shortage of foster carers in Tasmania.
The state government is currently on a recruiting drive for foster carers. This is a critical part of fixing the broken child protection system. What a great opportunity to “care for widows and orphans” James 1:27.
Foster carers can be from all walks of life, single, couples or whole families. They look after children and young people in their homes anywhere from a few days to a number of years.
According to www.fostercare.tas.gov.au
foster carers need to be:
- flexible and resilient
- a person with good communication skills
- committed to supporting children who may be afraid or traumatised
- able to work positively with the team from Disability, Child, Youth and Family Services (DCYFS) to achieve agreed goals for a child or young person.
Foster carers receive a non-taxable, regular payment to reimburse them for costs associated with their caring role. Carers also receive appropriate training and can access after-hours emergency advice and assistance.
Please pray about becoming a foster carer and specifically for Minister Jacquie Petrusma in her important role.