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Queensland Government media release

Queenslanders Dylan Nelson and Natalie Scotcher have been fostering vulnerable children since they were just 18 years old, and since the first child walked through their doors they haven’t looked back.

Child Safety Minister Shannon Fentiman said she hoped Dylan’s story, which features in the latest foster carer recruitment campaign, would encourage even more Queenslanders to open their hearts and homes to some of the state’s most vulnerable children.

“Natalie and Dylan knew from such a young age that they wanted to help children, so foster care was an obvious choice for them,” she said.

“The pair initially looked after children needing respite care and now, at age 25, provide long term care for young children at their large property just outside Brisbane.”

Because Dylan is of Indigenous heritage the couple have had a number of children identifying as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander placed with them.

“It’s really important that children with Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander backgrounds who come into care have a culturally-appropriate placement;” Dylan said.

Ms Fentiman said more foster carers from all walks of life were needed.

Natalie and Dylan’s story is one of several that will feature in the latest campaign which kicked off today (Sunday 8 October).

“Foster carers like Natalie and Dylan play a critical role in our child safety system,” Ms Fentiman said.

“What better way to hear about the benefits of fostering a child than from the carers themselves, who can talk about the challenges they face and the joys of helping a child.

“Our latest campaign will run for four weeks and comes after a successful first campaign which saw the number of online enquiries double.

“We need more people to take on this role, and I would encourage anyone who has ever thought about becoming a foster carer to take the next step.”

Ms Fentiman said the latest recruitment drive profiled nine different foster carers, from all different walks of life.

“These foster carers are sharing their own personal experiences and stories of fostering, in the hope of attracting more people,” she said.

“They are ordinary Queenslanders, like you and me, but they are taking on extraordinary roles in the lives of some of our most vulnerable children who cannot live safely at home.

“Like me, they want to see these children reach their full potential and are willing to give them the care and love they need to achieve this.”

The latest recruitment drive will feature on state-wide television advertising, digital advertising, on shopping centre panels, on social media and on targeted media including Indigenous Community Television, Koori Mail and QNews.

The $2.6 million Foster Carer recruitment campaign began in April with the aim of attracting 1000 additional carers.

Applications to become a Foster Carer doubled from 200 to 400 over the 10-week first phase of the campaign, which included digital and newspaper advertising.

Ms Fentiman said the Palaszczuk Government had also boosting support to foster and kinship carers.

“This includes providing at least $2000 per year towards out-of-pocket childcare expenses for children aged one to five,” she said.

“This will support our hardworking foster and kinships carers across the state, and will also help attract more working Queenslanders to take on the invaluable job of fostering.

People considering foster care can call Foster Care Queensland on 1300 550 877 or visit www.qld.gov.au/fostercare for more information.

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