Maree is the official foster carer, but she says it’s her whole family that provides a loving, safe environment for young people in need of support.
“The first thing I did when I decided to become a foster carer was to sit down with my husband and my 14 and 16-year-old to ask if that’s what they wanted to do. And they were even more keen on the idea than I was!” Maree said.
Maree and husband Gary were involved with the Scouts for a long time and had been considering foster care for a long time before they signed up.
“One of my friends has been a foster carer for years, so I had a good insight into what was involved and felt that I, and more importantly my family, was ready.”
During their seven years as carers, Maree’s children have often brought home friends who need a bit of extra support. Her son’s friend stays with the family every weekend and her daughter’s friend turned to Maree for help when she was looking for her first job.
“I have an open-door policy – my only rule is that you have to respect my family and that includes the young people staying with us, they are definitely part of our family. And as a result, on weekends I’m usually cooking for about 12 people. It’s very festive at dinnertime!”
Maree says she finds great reward in showing young people that they can achieve much more than what they’ve been told.
“If you’re only ever told that you can’t do something, then eventually you’re going to start to believe it. It’s amazing to see the positive responses when you encourage them, even in small things like cooking a meal, or just participating in sport.
“As a carer life is continually full of love and laughter. Hugs come free to whoever needs them or if you just want to sit and talk about nothing important my ears are always open,” Maree said.
Find out more about foster care here. Or if you’re ready to help change a young life for the better, we’d love to hear from you. Call our foster care team today on (03) 9794 3000 or fill out our online enquiry form.
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