Home fosters love
“THE biggest challenge is saying goodbye.”
Fay Alford has said goodbye to 87 foster children in the past 30 years.
In that time, she has fostered 90 children and adopted three, who became siblings to her two daughters.
Mrs Alford said there were many highlights of fostering.
“The joy of seeing a child smile for the first time and feeling that you are doing something for a child that they will remember always,” she said.
“I think that as a community, we all have a responsibility for these kids and we need more people to offer their home, hearts and lives.”
Mrs Alford’s daughters were aged 13 and 11 when her and husband David became foster carers.
“I was a kid in care myself, we had two kids and wanted more kids in our life,” she said.
The Carine grandmother is on the board of direc- tors of Kinship Connections, which helps Aboriginal children leave State care successfully by reconnecting them with their extended family systems, and identifying safe family members who will support them. One of the foster children the Alford’s adopted is Aboriginal.
“Kids need to know where they came from, they need to have that cultural connection and we can’t give them that,” Mrs Alford said.
Kinship provides Aboriginal children in care with a personalised book called Finding My Mob.
The organisation finds family members and sources old photos to create a book that ensures the young people have a connection with their family.
Mrs Alford is also on the committee of Home Stretch, a national initiative calling on state governments to legislate for children in care to be supported until the age of 21.
“Ideally I’d like to go to 25, but even to 21 will give these kids a better chance.” she said. “It will also help kids with a disability.”
Foster parent Fay Alford. Picture: Martin Kennealey