Raising other people’s children
Fiona and Callum McKinlay are opening their home as well as their hearts to children in need.
The Mangere Bridge couple are among those whose selfless dedication is being saluted as part of Foster Care Awareness Week, which runs from March 5-11.
Callum and Fiona became approved Child, Youth and Family foster carers in late 2014.
They have three adult children of their own and are currently looking after a 10-year-old boy. The couple provide transitional, or short-term, care.
‘‘[At the start] we got asked to take two sisters aged 6 and 9 for three nights and they ended up staying for 16 months,’’ Fiona says.
‘‘We give them the childhood that our kids had.’’
Fiona works as a caregiver social worker and Callum is a funeral director. They’ve had 10 children live with them for various lengths of time since they became foster parents.
‘‘A lot of the children come from troubled backgrounds,’’ Callum says.
‘‘We provide them with stability and things they haven’t had, such as routines.
‘‘That means going to bed, getting up in the morning and going to school on time.
‘‘I read them a story before they go to bed. Those are all things they may not have had before.’’
Fiona says successful foster parents need flexibility and resilience. She and Callum provide the children with a safe environment.
‘‘It’s a privilege to look after other people’s children. We love them and give them a great life.’’
Ministry for Vulnerable Children, Oranga Tamariki, chief executive Grainne Moss says Foster Care Awareness Week celebrates and acknowledges the people who provide safe, stable and nurturing homes for children and youngsters who need it most.
‘‘Any child affected by trauma needs understanding and a loving place to belong so they can flourish.
‘‘I’m always so impressed that New Zealanders from all walks of life are providing not just a home but caring relationships that last well beyond the time a child might stay with a family.
‘‘These caregivers play an important role in adding to a child’s sense of community, something every child deserves.’’
Go to cyf.govt.nz or phone 0508 326 459 for more information about what is required to become an approved foster carer.
Mangere Bridge couple Fiona and Callum McKinlay are marking Foster Care Awareness Week.