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Rainbow hair campaign seeks diversity of foster carers

Rainbow Hair for Foster Care launch cake!

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Rainbow Hair for Foster Care launch cake!A campaign seeking people from all walks of life to meet Victoria’s rising demand for foster carers will be launched in Richmond tomorrow, Wednesday 7 September, by Minister for Community Services, Mary Wooldridge.

Rainbow Hair for Foster Care will encourage people to think about the difference they could make by fostering children and young people who can’t live with their families.

Through September, more than 20 community agencies running more than 30 foster care programs will host activities featuring the brightly coloured hair in local communities around the state. They will be supported by local people, pharmacies, chiropractors, childcare centres, libraries, community centres, cafés and banks.

“Wearing rainbow hair is a vibrant way to show support for foster care, but it also reflects the broad range of carers we need to foster the diversity of children and young people who need care,” said Dr Lynette Buoy, chief executive of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare, today.

“Because these children and young people come from all cultural backgrounds, that needs to be reflected in their foster carers. Whether they are young or old, single or partnered, whether or not they already have children, and whether they’re gay, lesbian or straight – there’s no stereotype, just a shared commitment to being there for children and young people whose lives have too often lacked the support they deserve,” Dr Buoy said.

“Given the rising demand, it would be wonderful if we could achieve at least 500 extra foster care households by 2013–2014. It’s a big challenge, and one we hope this campaign will help us meet,” she said.

Katie Hooper, executive officer of the Foster Care Association of Victoria said it was an exciting thing being a foster carer and strengthening a child’s life.

“This campaign is a great opportunity for people to think more about being a foster carer, to contact the hotline, and even book themselves into an information session at their local foster care agency,” she said.

The launch will include a young person speaking about the experience of being in foster care and going on to become a carer.

Dr Buoy said getting more people to hear real stories about the value of foster care would raise awareness of how important it is for government, the community and ordinary people to get behind foster carers and support them as much as possible.

“In Child Protection Week it’s very important to realise that we need to do more than protect children – we need to care for them. Attracting more carers and supporting foster care agencies will help us achieve that vital goal,” Dr Buoy said.

Rainbow Hair for Foster Care is an initiative of the Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare. It is the second statewide campaign coordinated by the Centre, and follows a local campaign first run in 2009 by Child and Family Services Ballarat.

The launch will be held at Berry Street, 1 Salisbury Street, Richmond from 9.30am. Minister Wooldridge will speak at 9.55am and will then take part in cutting the Rainbow Hair for Foster Care cake at 10.00am.

Anyone interested in becoming a foster carer can ring the Foster Care Hotline:

1800 013 088

Visit:

www.fosterabrighterfuture.com.au

watch real foster carers speak about their experiences at:

www.cfecfw.asn.au/act/programs/home-based-care/foster-care

or read the FCAV factsheets about becoming a carer:

www.fcav.org.au/carerresources/information-sheets

On Twitter: #rainbowhair4fc

Media inquiries:
Darren Lewin-Hill
Media & Communications Coordinator
Mobile: 0408 083 238
darren.lewin-hill@cfecfw.asn.au

Media inquiries for Minister Wooldridge
Michael Moore
Mobile: 0400 719 355
michael.moore@minstaff.vic.gov.au

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