Steph Cooke leans on a gate and smiles at a camera. Hay bales can be seen in the background.

Finding safe, loving and permanent homes for vulnerable kids is the focus of Foster Care Week, with the NSW Government reinforcing its commitment to put children first and to improve outcomes for kids in out-of-home care.

Member for Cootamundra Steph Cooke is calling for people across the Cootamundra electorate to consider opening their hearts and their homes for a child in need.

“Children need stability and a safe place to grow and thrive, out-of-home care is an essential part of that,” Ms Cooke said.

“It doesn’t matter if you are single, married, young or old, rent or own your own home – people from all walks of life can provide children with a loving home so that they can be kids and enjoy their childhood.”

An estimated 350 carer households are needed across NSW to meet demand, with options including part-time care, restoration care, kinship care, guardianship and open adoption.

The NSW Government is strengthening support for foster and kinship carers through the $7 million, My Forever Family program. More than 550 potential cares were referred to the program last financial year.

Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward today kicked off a recruitment campaign for new foster carers, promoting the different types of carers needed across the state.

“Our Government is prioritising permanency for kids in care through open adoption and guardianship, but foster care also plays a critical role,” Mr Ward.

“We need people who are willing to open their hearts and their homes to kids in care, either temporarily and permanently, so that we can continue our work to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children in our State.”

To find out more information on how to become a foster carer, contact My Forever Family on 1300 782 975 or visit www.myforeverfamily.org.au.