RECORD BALL

More than $70,000 _ more than dou­ble the tar­get, was raised at the Bi­vianos Gala Ball for the char­ity Foster Care An­gels.

Hills to Hawkesbury Living Magazine - - COMMUNITY NEWS -

It was a glit­ter­ing night of great food and great com­pany at the Du­ral restau­rant but the dire sit­u­a­tion of chil­dren in the foster care sys­tem hit home.

Guests at the Gala din­ner heard from foster carer Alicia Vr­saljko about her ex­pe­ri­ences look­ing fos­ter­ing chil­dren need­ing cri­sis care.

Founder of Foster Care An­gels, Kelly Doyle said statis­tics con­cern­ing foster care were “truly hor­ren­dous”.

“One third of chil­dren will have 11 or more place­ments … po­ten­tially 11 or more schools. How do th­ese kids learn love, trust and at­tach­ment? Half of young adults will ex­pe­ri­ence home­less­ness in the first 12 months of leav­ing care.”

She said chil­dren from foster care were 7-8 times more likely to suf­fer from men­tal health is­sues and are also over-rep­re­sented in sub­stance abuse and teen preg­nan­cies.

Foster Care An­gels ad­vo­cates for dis­ad­van­taged foster chil­dren who are vic­tims of trauma or are strug­gling within the foster care sys­tem. Ser­vices in­clude pro­vid­ing ther­apy dogs, coun­selling and foster fam­ily train­ing.

Wendy Ben­nett from FCA said: “This money will be es­sen­tial in en­abling FCA to pro­vide sup­port ser­vices that no one else will fund. “This in­cludes our ed­u­ca­tion and sup­port ser­vices to the bi­o­log­i­cal chil­dren of foster car­ers.

“Th­ese young adults are un­recog­nised front line car­ers and of­ten don't speak of their strug­gles un­til they are des­per­ate and that's when place­ments break­down.

“The detri­men­tal im­pact of fos­ter­ing on the bi­o­log­i­cal chil­dren of foster car­ers is the lead­ing cause of car­ers ex­it­ing the sys­tem. “

Funds will also go to­wards pro­vid­ing Christ­mas gift ham­pers to those chil­dren and young adults liv­ing in ho­tels/mo­tels and car­a­vans of which there are hun­dreds in NSW.

osts on the night were Cas­tle Hill State MP Ray Williams and Hills Shire Mayor Michelle Byrne. MC and auc­tion­eer was Dr Jim Tag­gart.

Mag Hosny from Bi­vianos said they were de­lighted with the re­sult and thanked the gen­eros­ity of sup­port­ers.

Gary and Karen Man­gan with Erica West­bury board chair FCS and MP Ray Williams and wife Wendy

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