Assistant Minister for Child Safety Tarnya Smith with Susan Jerome, from South Burnett CTC’s Partners In Foster Care, and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington
Foster carer Bev Swift, from Murgon, with a very shy Xavvier, 3

March 12, 2014

Foster and kinship carers in the South Burnett and their support workers gathered at a lunch in Kingaroy today to meet with Assistant Minister for Child Safety Tarnya Smith.

Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington and Ms Smith attended the South Burnett CTC lunch and awards ceremony which was held at the Booie Bello Vista to mark Foster and Kinship Carer Week.

Ms Smith thanked the carers for their dedication and commitment to opening up their homes and hearts to some of the region’s most vulnerable children.

“Foster and Kinship Carer Week is the perfect opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the selflessness, kindness and valuable contribution local carers make to the lives of children and young people who need a safe and stable home,” Ms Smith said.

“Foster and kinship carers are wonderful people who find room in their hearts and homes to allow these children to be a part of their own families.

“For many of these children and young people, it’s the gift of a future for them.”

Mrs Frecklington also thanked local foster and kinship carers for their service to the community.

“The efforts of these people in keeping our children and young people safe from harm often go above and beyond the call of duty,” she said.

“In many ways, our foster and kinship carers are the quiet achievers of Queensland’s child protection system and this week I would like to encourage all Nanango community members to make the effort to thank our dedicated carers.”

* * *

The lunch was also an opportunity to recognise some special local carers with awards:

Through Thick & Thin Award
1. Connie and Shane Weber
2. Cathie and Mike Burns

Extra Mile Award
1. Jennifer and Geoffrey Bunting
2. Mark and Josie Beck

Keep Connections Award
1. Beka and Steven Swift
2. Warren & Kath Ford

* * *

Tarnya Smith said while foster and kinship carers come from all walks of life and backgrounds, they shared a common goal to create a better future for children and young people in care.

“In Queensland, we have more than 4,700 carer families who are committed to providing safe and caring homes to more than 7400 children and young people in care,” she said.

“While our current foster carers are wonderful people who do a great job, there is no doubt we always need more.

“So we are asking Queenslanders to consider whether they have room in their lives, their homes and their hearts for one more, and if so to consider becoming a foster carer.”

Ms Smith said carers were not only needed to provide long-term care but also to provide emergency, respite and short-term care.

For more information on becoming a foster carer, contact the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services on 1300-550-877 or visit www.qld.gov.au/fosterachild

[UPDATED with correction]

Ron and Katrina Mumford, from Proston, with their daughter Steph, 17 … Steph was a guest speaker at the lunch and read out a poem about foster care  

Kathy Chaseling, Dellese Heit and Joan Keevers from Child Safety

Foster carers Kath and Warren Ford, Nanango; and Connie and Shane Weber, Kingaroy

Foster carers Cath and Mike Burns

Kinship carers Tim White and Sue Aiton
Letitia Little, Tia Poutama and Rochelle Adams from CTC’s Partners In Foster Care

Anderssons Fruit Market for quality fruits and vegetables