The clock is ticking down to Father’s Day, and we’re sure some dads have had that date circled in their calendar from day one. A day dedicated to the (often self-proclaimed) ‘fun one;’ the one who lets the kids have ice cream before dinner, is far more lenient with the rules, or as one staff member recalled this week - the one who took her and her sibling to an M rated movie at an early age because “he wanted to see it.” And whilst dads are an easy target to poke fun at, they definitely work hard for this day and the difference a good father makes in the life of a child is immeasurable. So William Campbell Foundation would like to take this opportunity to say thank you to all the dads, and those who take on the role of dad; looking forward to their day next week.
But just like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day can be difficult for the 17,387 children and young people in out of home care in NSW. Children and young people who are separated from their birth fathers. And unfortunately, these emotions sometimes can’t be expressed verbally and can result in physical expressions such as increased sadness and anxiety, isolation from social settings, and anger and frustration. It may be difficult to address these emotions and talk about them, but when these feelings are being exhibited we encourage you to remember that communication is vitally important.
And the difficult conversations like these are the reason we would like to extend a special thanks to those fathers who have become dad to defenseless youth, and provide a safe and loving home. Those men who choose compassion, choose to give hope and build children up who have had a rough start to life. Thank you for loving these children as your own, being an advocate for them and your families, and providing stability where it is vitally needed.
We recently sat down and spoke with one of our current carers Alan, and he empathised with the negative emotions children in care sometimes experience saying, “they have low self-esteem” but that they exhibited an amazing amount of resilience “It’s amazing what these kids can go through.”
Alan and his wife Shirley have been foster carers with William Campbell Foundation for six years and say “we wish we had done it sooner.” They spoke in length about the transformative impact providing care can be for both the child or young person in care, and those providing a safe and loving home, “We want them to know that there are people who have hope for them.”
Alan spoke particularly about his own experience in caring for a young boy.
“He had to do one of those who I am at school, where you get up in front of the class. He said to me I don’t know what I am going to do and I said why don’t you talk about who you are and he said what does that mean? I said; explain to the class about being a foster child… He wrote it out and he read it to the class. I asked the teacher how it went and she said the class just sat there with their mouths open… and she cried. She had not really understood he was a foster child and he got up there and explained it to the class. I thought that was an extremely brave thing to do.”
So to all the ‘fathers’, ‘dads’, ‘old man’, ‘no more snacks,’ whatever you get called by your family, this Father’s Day treat yourself, and know that there are people who appreciate you and everything you do, that you are respected, and that you are a constant encouragement.