I have been a carer in one capacity or another for most of my adult life. I have been an official foster carer with several agencies in Victoria over the past 26 years. Last year I became a kinship carer again. I had not had any official placements of children for some years although I still have my first ever foster child as part of my family so I was out of touch with current practices, policies and procedures and felt I needed the support of FCAV to get me up to date. I now belong to two kinship groups which offer a forum for us to share our challenges and joys with people who "Get it". I am also supported by a fabulous kinship care worker- Thanks Toni at CAFS (Children and Family Services - Ballarat.
I am off to the National Foster and Kinship Care conference in Darwin. I have never been to the Northern Territory or Darwin so the chance to go was exciting in itself but how I managed to be going is even more exciting.
I wrote an application for one of four places funded by FCAV http://www.fcav.org.au/
FCAV was offering to send four carers to Darwin for the conference and asked applicants to answer two questions.
1. Why would you like to attend the conference? and 2. How will you present what you learn?
So I answered the first question by outlining my experiences of the past 26 years, which includes placements from various agencies, volunteering with many more and working in the education system with kids with disabilities, behavioural issues and cultural challenges. Then I answered the second by letting them know I love public speaking and I would be more than happy to talk with any group that needed to hear about the conference outcomes.
Toni from Cafs, and I have organised some dates to talk with other kinship care groups to talk about the conference and I will write a little article for the newsletter.
I went bargain hunting for summer clothing because Darwin right now is 30oC and Melbourne is 13oC and I have no summer clothing. Thank goodness for discount racks in department stores. Anyone who fosters kids will know all about bargain hunting to make every dollar stretch to give our kids the best chances we can.
This conference is supposedly a celebration of Kinship and Foster Carers. I look forward to that.
Staying in a spiffy hotel helps too. https://www.tfehotels.com/brands/vibe-hotels/vibe-hotel-darwin-waterfront
While there I am going to indulge in absolute luxury - uninterrupted sleep.
I shall let you know how it goes when I return.