The first thing that strikes you about John and Rob is their warmth and eagerness to talk about the joy they experience being foster dads to a 7-year old boy. The same-sex couple from Wollongong admit that it was exhausting at first as they all got used to a new routine and developed the rules of the house.

The couple describe their foster son as an open, happy child who is gaining confidence as time goes on, and say they have noticed a huge difference in him in the 19 months that he’s been with them.


Sharon is an amazing single parent, who provides immediate care for children in crisis with foster care agency Barnardos Australia, and has cared for over 40 children.

“It is sad when they go, but sometimes it can be a happy ending. We find the most amazing families and we’re fortunate enough to be able to keep in touch with a lot of the families.”

Denise and Ross, Challenge Community foster carers, have made a fantastic difference in the lives of over 60 children with their love, understanding & support. They have also supported birth parents as well as children with disability.

“It is about growing together. It’s about the kids, and them growing, and them being able to reach their goals.”

Hear Summas carer story image websiteSumma has only one sister but while she was growing up in Armidale, NSW there were always plenty of other kids around the house.

“That’s because my mother had an open-door policy of welcoming our cousins and friends to stay for long periods of time,” recalls Summa, who today lives in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.

Now 26 and a single parent with one daughter, Summa realised she wanted to carry on her mother’s open-door policy and raise children other than her own.


As a seasoned youth worker, Dianne is used to working with difficult teenagers and has often found a way to communicate with even the most violent and hardened teens.

So it wasn’t surprising that the single parent from Wellington was asked to become a foster carer of teenagers 14 years ago by caseworkers at Community Services.


Ten years ago, Sarah and David* had a nice home in Sydney and a busy social life with a large circle of friends. They could go out to dinner, go to the movies or take a vacation when they felt like it. Then the couple made a life-changing decision that startled their friends and family: to foster children with special needs.

“There are so many kids who need foster homes, but the special needs kids are really hard to place and they need a loving home to help them reach their potential,” says Sarah.


Katrina has always had an open-door policy when it comes to kids. As a young mother living in Moree, in outback NSW, she welcomed many teenagers into her home who wanted to talk, have a cuppa or find a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.


An image of Rhonda a foster carer

Ten years ago, Rhonda, 50, was gazing out into her backyard and thinking she was a lucky person. She had a job she loved, was raising two lovely children on her own and living in a comfortable home with a great backyard in Sydney’s south.

“At that moment, I was thinking how fortunate I was and how I would really like to give something back to the community,” she recalls.


It was ‘a spare room and broken heart’ that spurred Victoria, 47, and John, 56, of southern NSW to become foster carers five years ago.

Victoria’s eldest daughter, Rachael, from her first marriage, had chosen to move in with her dad and so there was an empty room that the downcast mother wanted to fill again with the sounds of children playing.


A photo of Rachid and Hauenida hear their carer storyIt’s Friday afternoon and Hauneida is preparing a special feast for Saturday lunch. She recites a litany of Lebanese foods that will grace the table – hummus, laban (home-made yogurt), mezze (a variety of hot and cold little dishes), kibbeh (a national lamb dish that resembles pate), chicken with rice, pine nuts and sultanas, honey-soaked baklava and a big cake to boot. For this is no ordinary meal, but a special event that must be marked: the first birthday party ever for her foster son, Bashir,* turning eight.


Adopted at six weeks of age, Carolyn, 40, grew up in a loving, warm-hearted household. “I was very lucky,” she recalls. “My experience could have been very different. It could have been as bad as what some children go through.”

The mother of three girls from Sydney’s west wanted to do something to give back to the community as a result of her good fortune and decided to foster children who hadn’t been as lucky as she was.


John and lynn resizedLynn and John can’t imagine life without a house filled with children.

After raising their own two children, the South Sydney couple dipped their toes into the foster care realm when they first started volunteering nine years ago for Aunties & Uncles, a mentoring organisation that gives children an extended, stable family environment. Once a month, a little boy, who didn’t have many relations, would come to stay with them.


The phone suddenly shrieks in the middle of the night. It would be disturbing for some people, but not for Barb in south-western Sydney, who is accustomed to receiving phone calls at 3.00 am.

The calls are always from caseworkers seeking a bed for a child or young person who’s suddenly had to leave home for safety reasons.