Fostering self esteem in children

Sean Taylor from CASPA.
Sean Taylor from CASPA.

According to Sean Taylor, foster caring for children has been the most rewarding thing he's done in his life.

"While it hasn't always been easy, seeing that child belong somewhere, be loved and thrive is the best thing I've ever done," Sean said. "Originally my partner Lisa and I couldn't have children. Once we surrendered to that, a couple of years later we saw an ad in the paper looking for foster carers and went for it; we've been carers ever since and have seen those children transformed through our care."

After working in welfare for over 20 years and foster caring for 12 years, Sean is now bringing his experience and passion for caring for young people into his new role as foster care manager for the Northern Rivers Child and Adolescent Specialist Programs and Accommodation (CASPA) service. He is keen to get CASPA's new foster care program up and running and is looking for more people who would like to become foster carers in the local area.

"Right now there are more than 16,000 children in NSW who cannot live with their birth families and have experienced significant trauma due to neglect, abuse or other family problems, including drug and alcohol issues," Sean said. "Many of them have challenging behaviours and it's important to provide stability and guidelines in a safe environment so they know where they stand."

According to Sean, the key to helping these children who come into care is to lift their self esteem.

"Every child needs someone to believe in them," Sean said. "Many of them have nothing they find good about themselves. It's important to find something they are good at and build on that. As a carer it's important to do lots of activities with them, such as taking them out, going to the beach and having lots of fun doing things they would like to do."

CASPA is looking for compassionate people from all walks of life to be foster carers for children aged 6-17 years; whether the carers are in a relationship, single, married, gay, lesbian, retired, unemployed, working or studying doesn't matter.

"Carers just need to provide a loving and nurturing home environment and be willing to work as a part of a team with CASPA and the child," Sean said. "You also need to have an existing spare bedroom and be available to suit the child or young person's needs."

CASPA offers different types of care opportunities for potential foster parents, depending on the carer's circumstances. Carers can offer temporary/crisis care for children needing foster care on weekends or school holidays, or can offer long- term care. Because many of the children have come from neglected backgrounds and have challenging behaviours, CASPA also assists carers with 24-hour support, access to flexible paid respite, professional clinical support and ongoing training, including workshops and family camps. They will also have case managers and youth support workers available to support the family's daily needs and carers will receive a tax-free reimbursement for fostering. Potential carers will need to take part in training, followed by home visits from CASPA staff as well as undergo criminal record checks.

CASPA will be running its first 'Shared story, shared life' training course for foster carers on February 25 and 26. For more information, phone Sean on 6627 3714 or email

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