There is an urgent need for foster carers in the Lithgow area.
Central West youth service Veritas House will host a free foster carer Information session on Wednesday, July 24 from 5.30pm to urge local residents with room in their heart and home for vulnerable children to consider foster care.
Veritas House's Joel Palmer said more than 80 children and young people aged from newborns to 18-year-olds are currently being provided with a safe and supportive home environment by Veritas Foster Carers in the Lithgow, Wallerawang, lower Blue Mountains, Bathurst and Orange communities.
"Children and young people are taken into out-of-home care through no fault of their own," he said.
"Often it is because they have been abused, neglected or abandoned by the people who were supposed to care for them; and often the parents have experienced the same trauma themselves.
"Our foster carers play a critical role in assisting children and young people in their care to grow and develop in a happy and healthy way, and in many instances work with the families to support the kids to return home safely.
"We urgently need local families and individuals to put up their hand and say 'I can help a little one' because these children deserve to feel special and worthy and loved."
The number of children and young people who entered out-of-home care increased from 10,000 in 2006 to 18,000 in 2016. However, while the number of entries into care between 2015-16 and 2017-18 declined, there were still more than 2100 children and young people who were admitted into care in NSW in 2017-18.
A wide range of carers are needed including respite, emergency, long-term, extended family or kin, guardianship and adoptive parents.
To become an authorised foster carer with Veritas, carers must be over 18, an Australian citizen or permanent resident, in good health and meet probity requirements including a Working with Children Check. Carers can be single, married, in a de-facto or in a same sex relationship.
The Information session will be held from 5.30pm at the Lithgow Library Learning Centre, 157 Main Street Lithgow and is expected to run for approximately 30 minutes.
For more information or to register to attend visit the Veritas House Facebook Events page, or contact Bridget Tracy on 1300 01 1973.
"We would encourage anyone who has ever considered the idea of becoming a foster carer to attend the information session and find out more," Mr Palmer said.
"There is absolutely no obligation to become a carer if you attend, but we're hoping to dispel some of the myths that exist about foster caring, explain what is involved in becoming authorised and the supports that Veritas provides to our carers, and it is a great way to ask questions in a relaxed environment."