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Fellowship Seeks Parents for Salaried Foster Care

Media Release
4 May 2001


Fellowship Seeks More Parents for Salaried Foster Care

Richmond Fellowship, the national provider of community based health services, is urging more families to come forward and be part of a professionalisation of foster care.

The Fellowship is negotiating with a number of parents to become professional foster parents for young people who have a range of needs. The Fellowship refers to this new role as “Specialist Family Support”. Under the new programme the Fellowship will provide training, support, 24-hour back-up, and pay foster parents a salary. The arrangements will be piloted in Christchurch before being introduced in other main centres.

The Fellowship’s clinical director, Dr Mike Reid says “the Specialist Family Support programme will be an integral part of this organisation’s youth service, and offers a new alternative for clients who need more intensive support in a home environment”. The programme is being purchased by the Child Youth and Family service and is believed to be the first time that New Zealand foster families are being recruited, trained and paid as professionals.

“We are negotiating with a number of families to be part of the Specialist Family Support programme, but we would like more to come forward,” says Dr Reid. “ We believe there are many suitable families out there who can provide the right home environment, and will be encouraged to do so by a more professionalised approach to training, recognition and payment. We are particularly interested in families who can provide a whanau-approach to family life or who can apply the principles of kaupaua Maori. Most importantly, we need families that can provide the setting in which young people can develop skills and competencies for moving on and re-joining their own families wherever possible.”

“This is the future of foster care in New Zealand,” says Dr Reid. “For too long foster families have not been properly supported or recognised for their skills.

Overseas experience suggests there are major gains in both the management of a client’s condition and the potential for the client to gain further independence. “We have clients within our service who would be ideal for this type of care,” says Dr Reid. “Training, support and back-up services are already in place, so the service will be ready to go as soon as we finalise arrangements with the parents.” Terms of payment for parents are still under negotiation.

Dr Reid says it is encouraging that Child Youth and Family has recognised the value of treating foster parents as professionals. “We’ve been investigating the professional foster care model for some time and believe it provides many benefits for the clients, the
parents and the funding agency.”


2

Richmond Fellowship is a major provider of community health services throughout New Zealand. The Fellowship has developed specialist services for a range of purchasers including the Ministry of Health, Crown Public Health, and District Health Services.

Ends

Further information:
Dr Mike Reid Chris Kalin
Clinical Director Director, Specialist Youth Services
Mobile(025) 285 2555 Phone 025 271 2762

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