Py­ja­mas needed for fos­ter chil­dren

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE - VIR­GINIA FAL­LON

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.

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