Foster care crisis across Western Australia

Accordwest out of home care team leader Michael Grove and out of home care manager Jacqui Davis.
Accordwest out of home care team leader Michael Grove and out of home care manager Jacqui Davis.

The South West’s leading provider of support services has labelled the current foster care situation as a state-wide crisis. 

Department of Communities statistics from June 30 showed there were 3,045 foster care households in WA, and 5,029 children in the chief executive’s care.

Accordwest chief executive Nicole Gibbs said there had always been a dire need for foster carers but that need had escalated significantly with the rise of meth addiction. 

“People get addicted to meth, they neglect their children and suddenly the numbers are escalating much faster than organisations are able to recruit foster care families,” she said. 

Ms Gibbs said Accordwest was needing foster carers in the South West and Peel region but carers anywhere in WA would be helpful especially for children who had come from a domestically violent home. 

“There is a complexity to it, which means we need very special people that are patient and compassionate,” she said. 

Accordwest out of home care manager Jacqui Davis said the process of becoming a foster carer took several months with training provided based on trauma, mental health and therapeutic care. 

“We want to get the right people, people who are going to be able to provide really good, safe care for a child,” she said. 

“The beauty of childen is no matter what is going on with them they are very in the moment and they just want to play.

“I found as a foster carer one of the most rewarding things was seeing children just be children again – yes you’ll see the challenging moments but most of the time they are just kids.”

Out of home care team leader Michael Grove said there was an insatiable need for foster carers. 

“The kids are coming into care faster than anybody knows what to do – every year the number of kids being removed is growing,” he said.

“We’re currently taking in a number of children into our family group home today, if we didn’t take them they would be homeless, they are currently homeless at 13.

“Foster care is all about having that patience and resilience and being unconditionally loving even when you’re faced with challenging behaviours.”

For more contact 9729 9000 or visit accordwest.com.au/fostercare.html.