Fos­ter fam­i­lies urged to reach out

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By CAITLIN WAL­LACE

There’s a big group of fos­ter fam­i­lies in the South Waikato and Shar­ron Liv­ing­stone is en­cour­ag­ing them to reach out for sup­port.

The Toko­roa and Taupo Fos­ter As­so­ci­a­tion mem­ber knows ex­actly what that com­mu­nity goes through and hopes more will reach out for sup­port.

The 51-year-old teacher hopes to raise aware­ness of the sup­port avail­able.

As a fos­ter carer her­self, she knows ex­actly what it is like.

‘‘Kids come with their own sort of bag­gage,’’ she said.

And what Liv­ing­stone is try­ing to achieve is pro­vid­ing the chil­dren with nor­mal­ity.

Es­pe­cially for chil­dren un­der Child, Youth and Fam­ily care, who can barely grasp onto a nor­mal child­hood when some can not even go to sleep­overs.

‘‘They aren’t al­lowed to do nor­mal things,’’ said.

She said the as­so­ci­a­tion aims to in­clude fam­i­lies and the chil­dren to show they are not alone.

‘‘This is for the kids be­cause they have been through hell and back and a lot of them need sup­port,’’ she said.

Strict poli­cies have stopped Liv­ing­stone re­veal­ing the num­ber of fos­ter chil­dren in the South Waikato.

But she said there are a lot of people in the fos­ter com­mu­nity, and plenty who she be­lieves would ben­e­fit from the sup­port.

‘‘We have this large group we want to reach out to,’’ she said.

Cof­fee morn­ings for par­ents and pool events for chil­dren are a start, she hopes the re­gional as­so­ci­a­tion will ex­pand from the 110 mem­bers.

And al­though the sup­port is kept within the as­so­ci­a­tion, she said a lot of people are un­aware of how big the com­mu­nity is.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion was one of four that was de­nied fund­ing from the South Waikato District Coun­cil’s Com­mu­nity De­vel­op­ment Grants fund.

The March al­lo­ca­tion had $40,000 to give away with 19 ap­pli­ca­tions.

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