Find out about foster caring at Murray Bridge meeting

If Tracy and Holly can do it, you can, too, says AC Care.

Welcoming homes are “desperately” needed for vulnerable young people in the Murraylands, a local community agency says.

Anyone with a little love in their heart, and a little space in their home, is invited to find out more at a community forum at AC Care’s Murray Bridge office next Tuesday night.

Foster carers Tracy Upton and Holly Squire, a mother and daughter, will speak about their journeys in a short film and a question-and-answer session.

Ms Upton found her home just didn’t feel the same after the youngest of her eight children started school; she has since become the long-term guardian to four more children, all siblings.

Her daughter Holly wanted to become a foster mum at 18, and was not deterred by having to wait until she turned 25.

She started raising three children of her own, and has since taken in 15 others for short-term stays.

“You’re never prepared for how much you’re going to fall in love with the children in your care,” she said.

“But it’s all been worth it because the children have had a lot of good outcomes – I like to think of these children becoming adults, having a good job and good relationships, building good connections from that foundation.”

Her foster babies have included newborn twins who stayed for a few months, then went to live with their grandmother, two years ago.

“(The grandmother) sent me a message out of the blue the other day, thanking me, saying she would like to keep in contact and shared an update and photos of them and said if it wasn’t for what I did, that it would not have been as easy for them,” she said.

The state Guardian for Children and Young People, Penny Wright, will also be on hand to explain how stability at home can change a young person’s life.

“I’ve seen the transformative power of children going to live in foster families that nurture them, respond to who they are as a unique person and are consistently there for them - the difference, even after a short time, can be astounding,” she said.

“Unfortunately there are not enough family based placements to go around and over 400 children and young people currently live in residential care placements, with rotational carers, plus there are more children coming into the system every year, so we desperately need to grow the number of families who can help out.

“We all have the power to make a difference and offering a home is a very special kind of difference.”

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