Home stretch

Wanneroo Times - - News - Denise S. Cahill

Fay Al­ford talks about the joys and chal­lenges she’s faced while fos­ter­ing 90 chil­dren.

“THE big­gest chal­lenge is say­ing good­bye.”

Fay Al­ford has said good­bye to 87 foster chil­dren in the past 30 years.

In that time, she has fos­tered 90 chil­dren and adopted three, who be­came sib­lings to her two daugh­ters.

Mrs Al­ford said there were many high­lights of fos­ter­ing.

“The joy of see­ing a child smile for the first time and feel­ing that you are do­ing some­thing for a child that they will re­mem­ber al­ways,” she said.

“I think that as a com­mu­nity, we all have a re­spon­si­bil­ity for th­ese kids and we need more peo­ple to of­fer their home, hearts and lives.”

Mrs Al­ford’s daugh­ters were aged 13 and 11 when her and hus­band David be­came foster car­ers.

“I was a kid in care my­self, we had two kids and wanted more kids in our life,” she said.

The Carine grand­mother is on the board of di­rec­tors of Kin­ship Con­nec­tions, which helps Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren leave State care suc­cess­fully by re­con­nect­ing them with their ex­tended fam­ily sys­tems, and iden­ti­fy­ing safe fam­ily mem­bers who will sup­port them. One of the foster chil­dren the Al­ford’s adopted is Abo­rig­i­nal.

“Kids need to know where they came from, they need to have that cul­tural con­nec­tion and we can’t give them that,” Mrs Al­ford said.

Kin­ship pro­vides Abo­rig­i­nal chil­dren in care with a per­son­alised book called Find­ing My Mob.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion finds fam­ily mem­bers and sources old pho­tos to cre­ate a book that en­sures the young peo­ple have a con­nec­tion with their fam­ily.

Mrs Al­ford is also on the com­mit­tee of Home Stretch, a na­tional ini­tia­tive call­ing on state gov­ern­ments to leg­is­late for chil­dren in care to be sup­ported un­til the age of 21.

“Ideally I’d like to go to 25, but even to 21 will give th­ese kids a bet­ter chance.” she said. “It will also help kids with a dis­abil­ity.”

Pic­ture: Mar­tin Ken­nealey d468862

Foster par­ent Fay Al­ford.

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