Lifestyle

Kinship carers celebrate in Shepparton

By Madeleine Caccianiga

In Victoria, the number of children who cannot live safely at home has risen every year for the past 10 years.

The Berry Street Kinship Care Program helps provide for these children.

Program senior case manager Amy Mancini said this year was the first year kinship care had been recognised statewide with Kinship Carers Week.

“Today is about celebrating our carers and hopefully we can grow bigger and better from here,” Ms Mancini said.

“Previously it has coincided with Foster Care Week but this year it’s a standalone celebration, which is really exciting for us.”

The Greater Shepparton network members gathered for a morning tea at Kialla's Peppermill Inn where they were treated to scones and cream and a light lunch.

Program team leader Wiremu Hewitt said while kinship care had always been a part of home care, it was one of the less recognised aspects.

“People think they’re just grandparents but it’s so much more than that,” Mr Hewitt said.

“What better place for a child to be than with their extended family, rather than lost in the system?”

Mr Hewitt said carers benefited from hearing each other's stories.

“Having the opportunity to come together with other people who are in similar situations is beneficial emotionally and mentally for our carers and it’s important to share strategies,” he said.

For information about Berry Street visit berrystreet.org.au