Foster care in the spotlight as Hunter-Manning carers and foster children answer the big questions

You can ask that: Behind-the-scenes of a short film commissioned by CatholicCare Social Services Hunter Manning that hopes to clear up some common beliefs and misconceptions about foster care.
You can ask that: Behind-the-scenes of a short film commissioned by CatholicCare Social Services Hunter Manning that hopes to clear up some common beliefs and misconceptions about foster care.

MYTHS are busted and misconceptions shattered in a series of short films promoting the value of foster care in the Hunter.

Borrowing from the format of the ABC’s popular You Can’t Ask That series, the films ask carers and former foster children to respond to widely held beliefs and ideas about foster care.

Topics include the suggestion that foster caring is only for “empty-nesters who need extra income”, and that foster care has a negative impact on biological children.

The films, released by CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning during Foster and Kinship Care Week, aim to reinforce the importance of foster care in the community.

Peter Di Girolamo, a passionate advocate for foster care, appears in one of the films.

“My wife and I, unfortunately, couldn’t have children ourselves,” he said.

“We understand it is hard for the agencies to attract the right type of person – and there are a few hoops you’ve got to jump through – which is fair enough, because obviously you’re having children who are vulnerable coming to live with you.

“But I view myself as being a cog in the wheel, or a player in the football team, and we, as a community, are all trying to score a try together to offer safety and stability for these kids.”

Mr Di Girolamo “strongly urged” people to attend a foster care information session.

“I think there is a misconception that all these kids are bad, and that they are going to come with baggage, that they are going to annoy the living daylights out of you and wreck your whole family, and that is just not the case,” he said.

“We can create an environment in our own home which provides that stability, that safety, that love that these children will adapt to, no matter their background.”

CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning director Gary Christensen said the films were a “great educational tool”. He hoped they would help eliminate stigma and increase understanding.

“We were motivated to develop these videos as when our staff and carers would talk to people in the community about foster and kinship care, it became clear there were many misconceptions, outdated views and, more broadly a general lack of understanding about what foster care is and why it is so important,” Mr Christensen said.

“There is an ever-increasing need for foster carers… particularly in the Hunter.

“As a community, we must unite to support and nurture vulnerable children and young people. The two videos go for a combined total of fewer than 30 minutes, and will provide viewers with a heightened understanding of the world around them and the adversity and experiences others face.”

To view both films in full, visit the CatholicCare Social Services Hunter-Manning website.