On the lookout for welcoming homes

NICCI MCDOUGALL
Last updated 05:00 14/04/2014
foster bear angela tayles
ALMOST TIME: Foster Bear prepares to hand out Easter goodies with Child, Youth and Family Southland social worker Angela Tayles

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A furry, brown life-size teddy bear has been attracting plenty of attention in the south.

Child, Youth and Family Southland's Foster Bear has been a busy animal making his way around community events promoting and supporting foster carers and children in care as well as raising awareness in recruitment. The much-loved bear hands out goodies and promotes the message printed across his bright yellow T-shirt: Can you open your heart and home?

The bear has been part of the Child, Youth and Family Southland team for six months and has since attended events such as Children's Day and Relay for Life. Child, Youth and Family Southland social worker and Foster Bear's colleague Angela Tayles said Child, Youth and Family was always looking for foster carers because different people could provide different things for children in care.

Foster Bear had been doing his job well, she said.

"He's definitely raising awareness because when people see him they want to know what he's about ... He really is helping us to get that message out there about foster care. People love him."

Foster Bear will be out on the streets of the Invercargill CBD handing out Easter goodies this week. A foster-care training session will be held on May 5 at the Child, Youth and Family office for anyone wanting to know more about foster care, she said.

There are a range of care options including emergency care, respite care, traditional or short-term care and permanent care.

Caring in Southland: 108 children and young people are in out of home placements. There are 36 family/whanau carers – where children are placed with family members. There are 55 non-family/whanau carers – where children are placed with non-family members. All figures as at February 28 in Southland. 

Child Youth and Family provides financial help to meet the daily costs of caring for a child. The sum is paid fortnightly, and varies according to the child's age. Weekly care allowances vary between $145.30 and $203.42, annual birthday and Christmas allowances vary between $72.65 and $101.71 and quarterly clothing allowance between $254.19 and $427.01. Source:Child, Youth and Family 

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