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CatholicCare Wollongong is dealing with a critical shortage of foster carers to look after children without a permanent home (CatholicCare Wollongong)

For more than two years, 11-year-old Ollie* has been living in temporary accommodation, cared for by a rotating roster of youth workers. Source: Region Illawarra.

Ollie is one of more than 400 children in New South Wales who desperately needs foster parents and a normal home life.

CatholicCare Wollongong has launched its latest campaign to recruit foster carers. Titled Can You Help Just One Child?, the campaign focuses on the plight of Ollie who’s been living in short-term accommodation due to a critical shortage of foster carers in the region.

Ollie first entered the foster care system in 2012. Since his long-term placement with carers broke down in January 2022, he has lived in temporary, high-cost emergency placements, primarily within an Airbnb hotel type accommodation, looked after by staff.

CatholicCare Wollongong’s Executive Manager Children and Youth Services Michelle Ferrara said it was the toughest she had seen the foster care system in 20 years.

“The unfortunate reality is that kids like Ollie are missing out on enjoying a happy, stable childhood and the care and security of a normal home life,” she said.

“It’s incredibly sad and we must do so much better for our children now and into the future.

“We recognise the economic hardship that many Australians are currently facing.

“For all of our foster carers, we offer training, financial and emotional support to ensure that we are supporting our carers and the children every step of the way.”

She said the campaign’s focus on one child aimed to personalise the challenge, prompting people to help one child and potentially other children as well, in an effort to meet the need for the community’s most vulnerable children.

Details: CatholicCare Wollongong’s foster care program.

*Name changed for privacy.


Can you help a boy who just wants a home and a foster family to care for him? (By Jen White, Region Illawarra


CatholicCare Wollongong launches latest foster care campaign (CatholicCare Wollongong)