{ABANDONED AND ALONE} {Lack of Support Hurts Kids, Says Foster Mum }; Jane Is Devoted to Caring for Kids, but the State Government Agency Responsible for Helping Her Has Left Her Feeling Her Foster Children Are

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Byline: PETER WEEKES peter.weekes@northernstar.com.au

FOSTER mum Jane doesn't know where to turn.

Jane, a Northern Rivers youth worker whose real name cannot be revealed, has been a foster parent caring for seven kids in high need over the last seven years.

But instead of being supported by the NSW Government agency charged with protecting our children, Jane says her cries for help have been ignored.

"Most of my kids are high-risk and they haven't had case workers allocated because of a lack of resources," she said. "I want to know if the Minister (Linda Burney) knows what's going on in her department."

In frustration she has turned to the media to embarrass the Department of Community Services (DoCS) into action.

Jane said one of the children in her care about four years ago tried to take her own life in Jane's family home.

Jane reported the attempt to DoCS and took the young girl to hospital and Lismore's Richmond Clinic psychiatric unit.

It wasn't until two weeks after the girl was released from the clinic that DoCS called offering assistance, Jane said.

"When I complained to DoCS they said it was because of a lack of resources and the girl was not allocated to a case worker and the (DoCS) helpline never passed on the file," she said.

Under the law, all children in DoCS care must have a case worker.

DoCS yesterday refused to answer questions about the incident, citing privacy concerns.

In yet another case, one of Jane's former foster kids, now an adult with a young baby, was flown back to Lismore by the Melbourne Domestic Violence unit to escape her violent partner.

Jane picked up the mother and child from the airport, bought a new baby seat for the car, as well as a cot and feeding bottles. …


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