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Foster carer Pam has fostered 20 children, many of whom have suffered significant levels of trauma and abuse. Carers like Pam provide a safe and caring home together with the right therapeutic support, giving children and young people the best chance to heal from difficult past experiences.

Pam hasn’t been alone in her journey as a foster carer. She has done many training courses with Berry Street over the years, developing an understanding of different types of approaches, as well as working with specialised therapists to help her understand the behaviour of young people and children in her care.

This support and knowledge have been invaluable for her as she cares for 10-year-old Jenny*, who had over 27 placements in foster care and attended no less than 7 schools before going to live with Pam.

“A lot of Jenny’s challenging behaviour was based on fear, rather than anger,” Pam says.

“Understanding that she was reacting from fear made a huge difference in how I worked with her, trying to help her make sense of her emotions.”

Pam Foster carer

With Pam’s support, Jenny is recovering from some of the devastating effects of abuse and neglect. A pivotal, memorable moment for Pam came when she was sitting on a park bench, having a disagreement with Jenny.

“In the middle of the argument, Jenny came around the bench for a hug. She was wanting to reach out for support and affection, even in the midst of her anger and fear… It’s those sort of moments that make it all worthwhile.”

You’re not in it alone when you decide to become a foster carer.

We work closely with carers to give them the support that they need.

Berry Street's foster carers have access to:

  • a dedicated case worker
  • 24-hour support and practical help from experienced Berry Street staff
  • ongoing training and support programs to help develop skills you will use as a foster carer
  • financial support in the form of a fortnightly, tax-free reimbursement
  • social opportunities to network with other carers.

Become a foster carer

Anyone can become a foster carer as long as they are over 21 and can provide a child their own room in a safe and nurturing home environment. Berry Street carers come from a wonderfully diverse range of different backgrounds, cultures and experiences.

We know that it can be a daunting prospect, especially because it’s full of unknowns. There are many options to caring for a child including providing emergency accommodation, respite care, or regular, ongoing care.

Read more about becoming a foster carer

Learn how you can get involved

*Name has been changed in the interest of privacy.