Macarthur family urges locals to become long-term foster carers

Tim and Linda Field.
Tim and Linda Field.

"It's the greatest reward and love you will ever experience."

That's the belief of Macarthur foster carer Linda Field.

Mrs Field and her husband Tim were inspired to foster children 20 years ago.

"I met a lady who was fostering children and I just really admired what she was doing," she said.

"So she led us down the path to fostering children ourselves."

The Fields joined CatholicCare Wollongong's Fostering Futures program and never looked back.

Now, CatholicCare has launched the program in Macarthur.

Director Michael Austin said the program placed emphasis on finding children in the foster care system more permanent living arrangements.

"This new direction aims to identify pathways for children to achieve more permanent outcomes through restoration to their family, where this can be achieved, or through adoption, guardianship or long-term foster care," he said.

"For children and young people who've come into care, the effects of abuse, neglect, trauma and loss are far-reaching.

"But they deserve an equal chance of achieving a good quality life just like every other child."

Mrs Field said she was delighted the Fostering Futures program had reached Macarthur.

"Our eldest is reaching 17 and a half and he came to us after being born at 11 weeks premature," Mrs Field said.

"He changed our lives forever.

"We now have four long-term foster children and two biological children - it's a busy household but that's just out big family.

"Fostering children is extending your family and learning how to be more tolerant, more resilient and showing more kindness and compassion.

"It can be difficult at times but the journey is worth it."

Mrs Field encouraged other locals to consider fostering children.

"CatholicCare have been so wonderful to deal with," she said.

"Anytime we have needed advice or the kids needed something we only had to dial them up.

"It's not just us and the kids - there are agencies, services and their families working with us to overcome any challenges in our lives."

Mrs Field said foster carers also formed their own support network.

"You get to met a lot of great carers along the way," she said.

"It's nice to be able to see how the kids are all growing up."

Mrs Field said there were many kids still in need of a place to live and a family to love.

"There are lots of little kids out there needing help," she said.

"Foster care is life-changing it has given life true meaning."