Fostering hope for children

by Kent Caddick

A Rolleston couple is helping to ensure foster children get the opportunity to start their new lives in the best possible way.

Katherine Jayne and her partner Hamish MacPherson are members of Foster Hope, a national organisation which aims to give support to those who take in children when their birth parents are unable to look after them.

They have recently agreed to be a collection point for Foster Hope in Selwyn to gather items youngsters will need for a start with their new foster family.

For Katherine it is a very personal mission.

“When I was younger I was in foster care for a while and I had amazing foster parents,” she said.

Katherine recently discovered Foster Hope through Facebook and watched a couple of the organisation’s videos.

“I really felt in my heart that this was a good way to give something back and Hamish, who saw I was quite emotional about the cause and wanting to do something, encouraged me to get involved. I contacted Foster Hope through their website and told them I loved what they were doing and wanted to help.”

She and Hamish agreed to be a drop point for people who want to offer new items for the foster children and their carers.

Among the support Foster Hope gives to foster parents is to provide backpacks filled with everything from toothbrushes to nappies and clothing like underwear and pyjamas for children entering foster care.

They also provide flat packs for older foster children who are leaving home for the first time and help to raise funds for children who are being cared for to attend YMCA camps as many grandparents who care for children can’t access fostering grants.

Katherine and Hamish’s home is now a drop-off point for Foster Hope for new items.

“For hygiene reasons many items like toiletries, socks, underwear and pyjamas need to be new but Foster Hope does take pre-loved items, like near-new clothing and bedding.

Katherine Jayne with some of the items she is collecting 
on behalf of Foster Hope

“So the backpacks are a kick start for the children so they are not turning up empty handed and to let them know people are thinking about them.”

Christchurch Foster Hope coordinator Ngaire Worsley said she doesn’t believe the number of children heading into foster care is growing but the demand for what they can provide is increasing as people become more aware of what Foster Hope can provide.

She said some of the children come into foster care with nothing as they may have been placed in care through Oranga Tamariki which is the Ministry for Vulnerable children (formerly known as CYFs). “There may be carers and foster parents out there who haven’t heard about us and also older children who have left care and missed out on support like our flat packs.”

People wanting to help out should first go to the Foster Hope website, for more details.