Christmas is that time of the year when everyone wants to be with their family. Unfortunately, some boys and girls living in our community are not so lucky. They are roughly aged between 12-18 years old and have ended up in residential housing because adoption and foster families did not work out for them. Most of these youngsters have had a very troubled childhood and that is why they have found themselves in residential care. Sadly, the holiday period is a difficult time for these youths when typically, families come together and share gifts with their loved ones.
Help us make Christmas special for Kids in Residential Care.
Our charity buys Christmas presents for kids under the protection of The Department of Child Safety, Youth & Women, and Children who are classed as 'Resi kids' (Residential Care in the community). Each child receives a gift bag filled with gifts to the value of $70.00, plus lollies, Christmas chocolates, a pencil case, a note book and pens for school.
In October each year, we send the young 'Resi' kids a form to complete that is their "Santas wish list." Our amazing team of volunteers (Santa's helpers). then start shopping and individually packing the child's gift bag to open Christmas morning.
The reason why these children cannot be with a foster family are varied, but simply put, foster carers struggle with challenging teenage behaviours and usually won't accept children over the age of 12. Some kids have multiple disabilities combined with trauma, high risk activities, drugs, crime and disengagement from school. Foster carers cannot manage all of this, especially managing their own family and if they are not skilled enough to properly help these children.
The young people are housed in homes that are run by non for profit agencies that use paid staff to care for the teenagers. The kids are still classified as being in foster care but not placed with a family. These 'Resi' kids are looked after by paid youth workers who play the role of foster carers.
Feedback from the Child Service Officers:
"Each YP really enjoyed their presents. For sibling groups, I noticed that this year, each sibling had the same amount of presents. My younger children also got a variety of what was on their 'wish list'.
The children that I delivered gifts to were extremely happy with what they received. The gifts were mostly unexpected and were very happily received.
All of my young people absolutely loved their presents and were very grateful! A few of them even saying it was their favourite present from Christmas. They was such a variety of gifts that suited our individual children and their personal interest and needs (from littlies to teens).
To help these young people feel the joy and magic of Christmas - even if they are not with their family and are in residential care within our community.
To help make the holiday period a little more enjoyable for the children in residential care and to ensure that they do not feel left out by giving them a wrapped gift to open up on Christmas morning.