Pyjamas needed for foster children
Pyjamas, a toothbrush, a backpack - simple things for children in crisis.
The Wellington region’s foster children carry their possessions in black rubbish bags and arrive - often at night - into the homes of strangers.
They are all ages, from babies to teens but, according to June Matthews, they are nearly always unprepared.
As winter draws in, the Wellington woman is appealing for donations of 1300 pairs of pyjamas.
The new pyjamas would help make a traumatic time a bit easier for some of the country’s 5453 children currently in care, she said.
‘‘To see kids carrying their things in a rubbish bag because they don’t have a bag or turn up without anything is heartbreaking.
‘‘These are kids who have just been taken from their mum or directly from school which is a traumatic time anyway.’’
Matthews is the co-ordinator for Foster Hope Wellington, a national charity that provided backpacks full of essentials for children going into care.
She became involved after her sister became a foster parent for children uplifted from their homes by the Child, Youth and Family agency (CYF).
‘‘Most people couldn’t comprehend Kiwi kids not having their own toothbrush but I’ve absolutely seen it. It’s not just the little ones, it’s teenagers without pads or tampons as well.’’
A Ministry of Social Development spokeswoman said for some children, going into foster care was the first time they had possessions of their own.
Many didn’t have a lot to bring with them and sometimes caregivers weren’t prepared, she said,
‘‘In some circumstances we have to move very quickly to keep a child safe, and their caregiver may not have everything ready for them straight away.’’
CYFs provided carers with financial help to buy clothes for foster children, she said.
Drop-off points for Foster Hope’s Wellington pyjama drive can be found on their website fosterhope.org.nz
A donation of winter pyjamas from Tawa Rotary Club to Foster Hope.