Foster Care Sunday

Foster Care Sunday - Fostering Hoipe

Foster Care Sunday

From 10 September 2023

Mary Blake of Fostering Hope writes: “Thank you to the Tasmanian Baptist churches for their support of foster and kinship carers and the children in their homes.”

Today, over 46,200 children in Out-of-Home Care in Australia. Sadly, the number of children removed from their families each year is increasing. At the same time, the number of Foster Carers is decreasing. Nationally, governments are struggling to recruit and retain carers.

The Church is called to serve the most vulnerable members of our communities. Let’s celebrate and support the Foster and Kinship Carers who are living on mission. These faithful people provide loving homes for children who are unable to live with their birth family.

We can all do something to create communities of welcome and support for carers and children with an experience of the Out-of-Home Care system.

Foster Care Sunday
What to do on Foster Care Sunday

Launching on September 10th 2023, we are inviting you participate in Foster Care Sunday. This could take place on a date that works for you.

On the day, we encourage you to:

  • SHOW the Foster Care Sunday video – 3 minutes. (
  • CELEBRATE children in care and Foster or Kinship Carers in your congregations and communities. (Do be aware of maintaining children’s privacy for online viewing!)
  • RAISE AWARENESS of the children needing families and the important mission of Foster Care.
  • PLAY A ROLE in being a safe and supportive space for those involved in the Out-of-Home Care system.
  • INVITE a carer, worker, or someone who grew up in care or a fostering family to share their story. They could explain the sorts of things that were helpful to them.
Find Out More

This year for the first time, Foster Carer’s Sunday is being organised by a national network of Christian fostering organisations. You can find more information here: The Church Pack will be available soon!

Mary Blake

Mary Blake is the Executive Officer of Fostering Hope in Tasmania.

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Supporting Foster Carers

Caring for Foster Carers

Your church can care too

Churches are a huge support network for foster parents, suggests Mary Dickins of Fostering Hope.

Over the last couple of years, Tasmanian Baptists have partnered with Fostering Hope to encourage churches to care for foster children. It is no secret Fostering Hope believes the local church is ideally placed to wrap around foster, kinship, and other informal carer families in support.

Foster carers open their homes to children who have been removed from their families of birth, and enter a new world. It is a world of childhood trauma, broken attachments, liaising with the Department, and working with birth families. All while trying to do the most important thing, offering security, belonging, and love to the children in their home!

Caring for foster carers

What Christian foster carers need are both other people on the journey who ‘get it’, and their church family.

The other people who get it are other foster and kinship carers. This is the role of Fostering Hope’s community of Christian foster, kinship, and grandparent carers.

Church community is also needed to support the carers, the new children in the home, and biological children in foster care families.

Caring for foster carers

Stories from carers

Churches make a HUGE difference for carers. Below are some quotes from our foster carers. Sometimes, church support can be the factor which enables a family to step into fostering in the first place:

“There are many ways our church has shown they are with us and for us as we foster. We received so much encouragement and prayer as we started the process. One church member looked after our birth children every week so we could attend the training.

It really makes a big difference to know people are standing with us.

We asked our small group to be our ‘official’ support network. They have provided meals, babysitting, sourcing a cot – as well as emotional support for us. It really makes a big difference to know people are standing with us, who understand what we are doing and why!” 

Having people respond when things are exceptionally challenging, can make impossible things possible:

Foster Carers - just me

Caring for Foster Carers

“Our two little girls entered our home at 18 months and three years old. Although we’ll never know the full extent of all they experienced in early life, one thing we knew for sure was that food caused them extreme anxiety. It’s likely they hadn’t always been given food regularly, so when mealtimes approached or at shared meal events, like church morning teas, they saw food and ate.

We had older biological children in our home, so managing the four children after church was extremely challenging. Our church stepped in to help. Each of our foster daughters had someone with them during morning tea. The aim was not to discipline them, but help get a plate of food and sit down. This reduced anxiety for me after church so much. It meant I could enjoy a cuppa and fellowship, and my biological children could hang out with their friends.

This was simple and practical, but showed acceptance of our children

This was simple and practical, but showed acceptance of our children, not judgement, and a willingness to see what we needed. I don’t know if I’d be going to church if this hadn’t happened.

It is amazing to find a church who are willing to learn about trauma. To learn why children come into care, and goes the extra step to ensure structures and processes work for carers’ children too. Fostering Hope has trauma-awareness training to meet this need for churches.

Foster Care - Just Me
Caring for Foster Carers

“Sadly, we had to leave our last church. It broke our heart to do it, but we had to put our foster child first. The church they just didn’t understand our concerns when they started using Facebook to broadcast services live.

We explained the risks of him being on social media. But their solution was that we should just keep him to the side – meaning he would never be able to engage in services with the other children. 

They learnt about trauma, understood the complexities of being a carer

“Our new church now is completely different. They learnt about trauma, understood the complexities of being a carer. Through this learning, they can offer a more child safe program not just for our son, but all children.

Caring for Foster Carers

Sal Alas Photography; Mary Dickins

To find out about Fostering Hope‘s trauma-awareness training for your church, please contact Mary Dickins:

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June/July 2022

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Our Youth: Hobart Baptist
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You Could be a Respite Foster Carer!

Fostering Hope

Respite Carers Needed

Fostering Hope Seeks Assistance from Tasmanian Baptists

Tasmanian Baptists have a strong relationship with Fostering Hope, who are intentional about supporting foster carers. Together, we look toward a better future for Tasmania by recruiting suitably trained foster carers, placed in supportive church communities.

Fostering Hope partners with radio stations ultra106five and Way FM with a state-wide awareness and recruitment campaign for respite foster carers.

Respite carers are the fun people in a kids life

There is a huge shortage of respite carers in Tasmania and Fostering Hope believes this is a need the Christian community can rise up to meet. Respite care gives full time carers a break AND offers extended family and community for foster children.

The best respite care situations are where the respite carers are on the team around the child, and the children don’t even realise they are going to respite, but look forward to hanging out with their friends, ‘foster grandparents’, ‘cousins’ etc.

Respite carers can be any age or stage of life, and get to be the fun people in the kid’s life! 

Full Training Offered

To ensure safety for foster children, respite carers receive the same formal training as full-time carers. Fostering Hope is there to support people through the training and next steps.

Each term a ‘Preparation for Fostering’ course is offered. As well, new carers are buddied-up with existing carers. Of course, all carers join Fostering Hope’s awesome group of existing carers. Carers agree that one of the best parts about the carer journey is getting to hang out with other carers!

Training will be provided by BaptCare on Saturdays 7th and 14th May at Wellspring Anglican, Sandy Bay. Attendance by Zoom is also available.

How Tasmanian Baptists can help

Fostering Hope ask that Baptist churches download one or more of the images below. Please use them in your bulletin, on your website, or in your social media posts.

As well, one of the Fostering Hope team members can visit on a Sunday, mid-week event, or anything else!

How to pray …

The Prayer: By 2023, all foster children will have respite care, and there are plenty of carers in Tasmania. 

Mary Dickins, Fostering Hope

Mary Dickins and the Fostering Hope team

If you have any questions please contact Mary. She is happy to help you!

Images to Download

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Fostering Hope Respite carers
Fostering Hope Respite carers
Fostering Hope Respite carers
Fostering Hope
Fostering Hope

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All About Being a Foster Carer

Foster Care, Tracey Avery

Children Need Community

Advance Dec-20, Tracey Avery

Tracey Avery attends City Baptist Launceston, and is a long-term foster carer.

Tell us about where you live and what your family looks like at the moment?
The Averys
Tracy and Stephen Avery

I live in Launceston with my husband Stephen. Between us, we have five children aged between 16 and 28 years. In our home at present, we have my three children and my daughter’s fiancé, and we are preparing for our first grandbaby. Stephen’s two adult children live independently.

My children are not biological, they have all come through a government-run foster care agency. The oldest has lived with me since he was two years old, has tried living independently three times, and for various reasons that has not worked out for him. The middle girl is 18, has lived with me for 16 years, and her fiancé also lives with us. They are expecting a baby in August.

The youngest girl is 16, and has lived with me since she was eleven months old. I became legal guardian to the youngest when she was three, and the middle when she was nine years of age. Having guardianship made parenting easier in regard to decision making.

When and why did you begin fostering?

I have been fostering for 26 years. I started foster caring for two reasons: the desire to become a parent; and wanting to make a difference in the lives of children who were unable to live within their own biological family. Stephen is new on this journey with me. God knew exactly what we all needed when He brought Stephen into our world.

What are some of the challenges you face as a foster parent?

It can be lonely if you don’t reach out, it takes courage. Fostering is rewarding and has daily challenges. For me having three children, all from different families under one roof, felt like I was like parenting three different families. Since the beginning I have facilitated contact with their families, and although challenging at times, I believe it has benefited the children in making their own decisions in regard to relationships within their families.

I would love to see the church rise up and support carers and the children they are caring for, even to somehow connect with their families.

When my girls were young and we would go to church, and many Sundays I really had to push through to be there. I would watch people within the congregation connect with other children, just not mine. Perhaps it was because the congregation didn’t want to connect with them, but I do wonder if they just didn’t have the skills.

The church and foster care

As I journaled about this I wondered: if the church cannot love and connect with the children that come into the church through foster care, then how will the church ever love the people out in the communities and on the streets?

Fostering changes your life forever, and it comes at a cost to all. As a foster carer I have chosen that path. My eyes are wide open to the hurt and brokenness the children and their families experience. Whilst I have a choice to be a foster carer, the children don’t have a choice to come into foster care.

How does being a Christian foster carer make a difference to what you do?

I love the peace that God places within. On days where I have been challenged beyond comprehension, I still have this sense of His peace. Knowing that God loves my children more than I can ever imagine, I know He is my strength and He will carry me through those days.

What is the best piece of advice you have received about fostering?

I would advise others to connect and build a community around you, and the children, in your care. Most importantly, be kind to yourself, schedule time out.

Do you ever feel sad, or guilty, or uncomfortable about the idea of raising other people’s children?

I have had a range of emotions over the years. My heart breaks for my children, that they were not able to be raised within their own biological families. I am thankful for the relationships I have with my children and their families. It is my privilege to be a light and carry a banner for God into their lives.

Do you have support from others to assist you in your foster care journey?

Yes, over the years I have gathered a team of friends who are supportive of myself and my children. Honestly, I’m not sure what I would have done without their support.

What are some practical things people can do to assist a foster carer?

Befriend them. Come alongside them, and do life with them. We all need community, love and acceptance. The children need a community around them. They need that reassurance that there are people available to step in, to help out through times when circumstances are out of our control.

Pray that foster children will know Jesus
How can we pray for you and your family?

Pray that our children will all have a relationship with Jesus, and find the love and acceptance that they crave within the world. At the end of the day nothing matters, only our relationship with God.

I am thankful for my journey as a foster carer. I would not be who I am today if I had not had the privilege of raising and loving other people’s children. Even in the hard days I am thankful.

Tracey Avery