MM and I went to an information session a few months ago that was put on by the local office of the department. It was put on to help explain some of the changes that have been taking place within the department since November and there are more to come. We were given an opportunity to ask questions and make suggestions at the session and the department took notes, answered questions and made suggestions. We came away thinking, if they do what they say they want to do, it will be great for everyone in the foster care system, the department, the agencies, the carers, and most importantly the children.
During the course of the morning MM had a few comments/questions (with me worrying about upsetting the ‘big bad department’) and because they liked his comments and questions he was asked to join a committee with other carers to help improve the way things work. Go MM!!
This committee has only met twice so far, but each time, MM comes home with positive things to say. The first session they discussed what works and what needs work and the main thing that came out of it was better communication needs to improve between all involved.
Meeting number two and they started getting to work. A newsletter is going to go out and “The Big Brunch” was organised. This was a very informative session with brunch provided and a swap meet.
Some of my highlights were hearing about the CREATE foundation and the Dame Roma Mitchell Grants.
The Dame Roma Mitchell Grants are for children and young people in care. They can apply for grants to help them pay for essential furniture when they move out on their own, or to help pay for things like, driving lessons, or equipment for courses they want to undertake.
The CREATE Foundation is a national organisation to help empower children and young people in care. They have magazines, events, workshops, as well as resources for teens leaving care including classes on budgeting, cooking, writing a resume. They have kits for children entering care and also leaving care.
Another guest speaker that I was happy to see was from a program called ‘Grandparents as Parents’. Great to see support for this group of carers that is ever growing (more than 30,000 grandchildren are cared for full time by their grandparents).
As a result of this information session, and knowing there are going to be more, I have started a resources page with links to these organisations and more links yet to come.
So, ‘The Big Brunch’, a great step in the right direction.