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Fostering awareness of foster carers

Hon Paula Bennett
Minister for Social Development and Employment
Minister for Youth Affairs

1 November 2009
Media Release

Fostering awareness of foster carers

Today marks the beginning of Foster Care Awareness Week, says the Social Development and Employment Minister Paula Bennett.

“It’s a time to stop and think about the people who give of themselves to raise children who are not their own.

“Any parent will tell you raising a child isn’t easy. Imagine the amount of dedication and caring it takes to raise someone elses,” Paula Bennett says.

There are 4,500 approved caregivers with Child Youth and Family.

Paula Bennett says there are many thousands more children being raised by their grandparents or extended whanau.

“Often these children come into foster care in less than ideal circumstances. It places a great deal of stress – both emotional and financial – on the caregiver.

“Becoming a foster carer – be it of your own kin or no relation at all – brings with it great rewards and great challenges. That’s why it was important to this Government to follow through with initiatives to make life a little bit easier for carers. We brought the Unsupported Child’s Benefit into line with the Foster Care Allowance in April this year.

“We also ensured that our Break Away Package for School Holidays included a special Respite Camp for kids living with foster carers or extended family. 500 children will get the chance for a break - as will those looking after them.

“It’s a mark of the respect we have for those caring for the children of others and recognition of the extraordinary job that they do.

“This week is an opportunity to help celebrate and thank them,” Paula Bennett says.

Later in the week the Minister will present the William Wallace Awards for young people in foster care, run by Child Youth and Family.

The winners receive a money prize to go towards tertiary, vocational or leadership training.

ENDS

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