Media Release by The Hon Sussan Ley MP

National recognition for foster carers

Foster carers who have cared for foster children for 20 years or more have been nationally recognised at an awards ceremony, today in Alice Springs sponsored by the Howard Government.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Children and Youth Affairs, the Hon Sussan Ley, congratulated 48 winners of the National Foster Carer Recognition Awards, on behalf of the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator the Hon Kay Patterson.

“The Howard Government recognises the valuable contribution carers make not only to the children they care for but also to the community at large and these awards ensure their contributions do not remain unnoticed,” Mrs Ley said.

“South Australia’s Fredda Benham will receive an award, which recognises an incredible 55 years as a foster carer, providing short-term, long-term, respite and crisis and emergency care as well as care for children with behavioural problems.

“Brian and Kay Catterick from Queensland, who will also be recognised, have also provided short and long term care, respite and crisis care for over 28 years.

“The Awards, presented at the Australian Foster Care Association’s (AFCA) national conference, Living and Learning Together: A Celebration and Appreciation of Diversity, also highlights the role of Indigenous foster carers in the community,” Mrs Ley said.

“The Government recognises the valuable contribution of foster carers to the community and will provide $16,695 a year over the next three years to support the National Foster Carer Recognition Awards.

“I also take this opportunity to welcome the announcement by Senator Patterson, to deliver up to $50,000 in funding for the AFCA to produce a booklet, capturing the positive experiences of foster children, their carers and biological parents.

Mrs Ley said another $50,000 in funding will be provided to develop a national template for non-Indigenous foster carers caring for Indigenous children.

“The template will be developed in consultation with the Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) and will link with the work of the National Indigenous Family Resource Centre.

“This template will provide information on maintaining the relationships of Indigenous foster children with their birth families and communities and enhancing their cultural connections.

“The Howard Government is committed to supporting and assisting foster carers in the important role they play in the community in caring for Australia’s vulnerable children,” Mrs Ley said.