On Christmas morning across the Goulburn Valley, the pitter-patter of thousands of little feet will be heard as children dash to see if the big man in red has made a visit.
But there will also be hundreds of children who won’t be home for Christmas — who can't be home.
Home, for some, might be on the street; home might be violent; home might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Home might be scary. It might be dangerous.
At any age, it is disorienting to be uprooted from your house, your school and your community. For children, it is absolutely terrifying.
But they’ve got some angels looking over them this festive season. Across the state, more than 2000 foster carers will open their homes to care for kids in need of a safe and nurturing home.
And, as part of a national initiative called Giving Tuesday, the Foster Care Association of Victoria has put the call out for donations great and small to help support those who open their doors, and hearts, to our kids.
Daryl Sloan is a board member of the Foster Care Association of Victoria and is a foster carer himself in Shepparton. He and his wife Debbie have been taking in children from babies right through to teenagers for the past 23 years.
“Through no fault of their own these kids are in an environment that is completely bewildering for them,” he said.
“All that they know has been taken away. Their home is gone, their friends aren’t around, they often don’t even have time to pack clothes or toys, and they don’t get to sleep in their own bed.
“By taking them in, you can give them a stress-free environment, a warm bed, a safe place to sleep, and a full belly.
“During a really crazy time in their lives, those basic things can be absolutely life-changing.”
Every 45 minutes a child is placed into foster care in Victoria, and it’s the job of the FCAV to make sure carers are equipped, trained and supported to give those children a safe and secure home.
They provide some amazing services — such as a 24-hour help line — and advocate for carers, as well as their foster children, to government across all levels.
#GivingTuesday is a campaign fuelled by social media that is asking consumers to consider investing in a local charity instead of giving in to consumerism this Christmas. The Foster Care Association of Victoria (FCAV) is asking that this Tuesday, December 3, people jump on board to donate and help support carers.
“Giving Tuesday gives everyone the opportunity to make a difference,” Mr Sloan said.
“It takes a village to raise a child, and I firmly believe the community is that village.”
To donate, go to fcav.org.au
To learn more about Giving Tuesday, visit givingtuesday.org.au