Stop complaints and help - foster father

People need to stop complaining about children going off the rails and step up to help turn their lives around, a foster father says.

With Father's Day being celebrated tomorrow, a foster dad, who can be identified only as Frank, is calling for other fathers to open their homes to children being dealt with by Child, Youth and Family.

There were 5446 children removed from their families by CYF as at June this year.

"How many people complain about the bad things that are going on and they do nothing about it," Frank said.

"The opportunity is there for heaps of these people to do something. It takes your time, and sometimes it's hard, but you have just got to do it."

Frank, 56, a cabinetmaker, took in a seven-year-old boy in 2006 who had been removed from his family by CYF.

Frank had two older sons from a previous marriage, but no children with his present wife of nine years, Kim.

"We wanted to have a family," he said.

They decided against adopting, instead giving a permanent home to a CYF child.

When he came to them, the boy had poor communication skills and "he was starting, we felt, to slip through the cracks".

Now he enjoyed motocross biking and was head of a chess club.

"He's a nice kid ... We were watching something last night and he was just standing there with his arm around me.

"What they need these kids is 100 per cent one on one. You've got to give them time – they are prepared to be totally involved with you."

The family meets the boy's birth mother every three months.

Frank's top tips to any father are: Give time, listen, and set guidelines and boundaries.

"It gives great rewards."

Social Development Minister Paula Bennett has backed Frank's call for people to help.

"Often children come into foster care in less than ideal circumstances and it requires strength and patience to work with them to give them a home, a place where they feel safe and loved."

The Dominion Post