Fos­ter­ing brings out my best - carer

WISH I’D DONE IT EAR­LIER, SAYS 54-YEAR-OLD

Kalamunda Reporter - - News - Lynn Gri­er­son

FOS­TER carer Donna Maisey (54) is rais­ing a lit­tle girl with cere­bral palsy at a time when many par­ents would savour the idea of an empty nest.

The Mun­dar­ing mother said that with her daugh­ters grown up, the time was right to do some­thing she had thought about for many years.

“My only re­gret is I wish I’d fos­tered chil­dren 20 years ago,” she said. “Car­ing for chil­dren is keep­ing me young and bring­ing out the best in me; I’m a health­ier and hap­pier per­son,” she said.

“I’ve al­ways had a con­nec­tion with chil­dren and when I was young I wanted to work in child care.”

How­ever, her father did not want a daugh­ter who suf­fered ill health to travel five days a week from the fam­ily home in Northam to study in Perth.

“I had kid­ney prob­lems and I guess he was pro­tec­tive,” she said. “Hav­ing health prob­lems has made me more re­silient, more de­ter­mined in life.

“I’ve been around peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties long enough to know they also have awe­some abil­i­ties,” she said.

“My dad had po­lio when he was 14 years old and so I’ve grown up with a father who found ways to adapt to his dis­abil­ity and who man­aged to build two houses.

“I’m try­ing to in­stil in the lit­tle girl in my care to never give up, to keep try­ing and not to ac­cept lim­i­ta­tions.”

Mrs Maisey said she stayed with her ward in hos­pi­tal for two nights be­fore bring­ing her home.

“She was 18 months old but was like a new­born baby, she barely mov­ing and did not ut­ter a sound… she had been badly ne­glected and had missed many health ap­point­ments,” she said.

Un­der the care of her new fos­ter ‘nanna’, the lit­tle girl was as­sessed and has at­tended many ap­point­ments with spe­cial­ists at Princess Mar­garet Hos­pi­tal for Chil­dren.

The two-year-old girl is de­vel­op­men­tally de­layed and needs to at­tend fol­low-up ap­point­ments most days of the week at a cen­tre in Mid­land.

“Hope­fully we can catch up to where she should be,” Mrs Maisey said. “Every day, we do stretch­ing ex­er­cises and play to­gether; it’s amaz­ing what she is do­ing now.

“She is crawl­ing around the house and play­ing with her

I’ve been around peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties long enough to know they also have awe­some abil­i­ties.

toys, and she even speaks a few words; she is a so­cia­ble lit­tle girl with so much po­ten­tial.”

Mrs Maisey be­came a fos­ter carer two years ago, even­tu­ally giv­ing up a job as a hos­pi­tal re­cep­tion­ist to de­vote more time to car­ing for chil­dren.

“I get so much sat­is­fac­tion from help­ing lit­tle peo­ple who need a sta­ble, lov­ing and pro­tec­tive home,” she said.

She com­pleted a De­part­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties train­ing course over six weeks dur­ing which time she learnt how to iden­tify and man­age signs of stress and trauma in chil­dren.

Of the 380 chil­dren cur­rently in care in the Mid­land district, 200 are Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren who, wher­ever pos­si­ble, are cared for by indige­nous rel­a­tives or car­ers.

The De­part­ment of Com­mu­ni­ties will host an­other in­for­ma­tion ses­sion on fos­ter care from 10am to noon, on Oc­to­ber 19 at Cale House in Mid­land.

Mid­land District Di­rec­tor Lucy Davies said the de­part­ment needed com­mit­ted peo­ple will­ing to open their hearts and homes to care for chil­dren and young peo­ple in need.

“At our in­for­ma­tion ses­sion, we run through what it’s like to be a fos­ter carer, and the sup­port and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties avail­able,” she said.

“Fos­ter car­ers come from di­verse back­grounds and so­cio-eco­nomic groups, and can be sin­gle men or women, mar­ried or same-sex cou­ples, with or with­out chil­dren, or young or old.

“Chil­dren are our great­est as­set and many lives have been turned around be­cause of the ded­i­ca­tion and sup­port of­fered by their fos­ter carer.”

For more, visit www.cpfs. wa.gov.au or www.face­book. com/FosterCareWa, or call 1800 182 178.

Pic­ture: Bruce Hunt www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d472758

Donna Maisey with the fos­ter girl she is rais­ing.

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