When Cherie Reid signed up to become a foster carer with Centacare Catholic Family Services she had no idea that her oldest daughter Rachelle, 22, would also be offering her support as a respite carer.
Thanks to their efforts – and that of all the family – the child is thriving in a ‘natural family scenario’.
The Reid’s journey in the foster care program began when Cherie and husband Joel made the decision last year to undergo training and an assessment to become reunification carers.
After undergoing a five-month assessment they were delighted when the two-year-old child joined the family. Initially the plan was for them to be reunified with their birth family, however after six months the case direction changed and the decision was made that it was not viable.
Having made a strong attachment with the child the Reids, after much family consultation and consideration, agreed to become the child’s long term specialist carers.
Making the story even more special, Rachelle – who has a seven month old with her partner Nathan – offered to undergo the assessment process, so she could be a respite carer. This means the child can now have sleepovers at her home, giving Cherie, Joel and their two younger children a break when needed. This also provides the child an opportunity to deepen connections with adult role models within their network and have their own special adventure.
“Together Cherie and Rachelle are creating an organic village of care that mimics a natural family scenario,” said Amalie Mannik, manager of Centacare Foster Care.
“Families generally use their network of grandparents and siblings to have that chance for respite and support… and the Reids’ situation is a lovely scenario where all the family is working together.”
Cherie said she was motivated to become a foster carer after seeing her mother-in-law’s experience of being involved in the program.
“I really love kids and Joel’s mum did foster care and we saw massive changes in the kids and how much it made a difference to them. So we decided to give it a go.”
She said the training and support from Centacare had been “wonderful”.
“They do a lot of home visits and a lot of training. I’ve been a mum for 22 years and I still learnt some things and it was really interesting.”
When the child was placed with them in September 2020 she said it was “challenging” at first but her two younger children were “very excited” and supportive.
The decision to take on the role of long-term carers this year was not taken lightly.
“It was a big decision, but we have seen so much progress since the child has been in a stable home,” she said.
“Rachelle lives just down the road and she supports me a lot. I am very lucky we have such a lovely family.”
And for those who may be considering becoming a foster carer, Cherie and Rachelle are unanimous: “give it a go!”
“It’s had its challenges but it’s probably the most rewarding thing I’ve done,” said Cherie. “It makes such a difference in their life.”
With more than 4500 children in South Australia currently under guardianship there is high demand for foster carers, particularly in the southern region and Adelaide Hills.
For more information about Centacare’s foster care program go to www.fostercare.centacare.org.auJump to next article