On the last Sunday in October, ACWA’s Fostering NSW team was joined at the glorious Parramatta River Foreshore Reserve by staff from Barnardos, Challenge and Creating Links in hosting a stall and information session at the Parramatta Pride Picnic Day on behalf of the Metro Recruitment Working Group. The Benevolent Society, Life Without Barriers and Uniting were also present on the day ensuring that attendees were given every opportunity to find out more about providing permanency support for the region’s vulnerable children and young people.
Some picnickers arrived early to set up in the shade and enjoy the beautiful warm and friendly atmosphere to the full, while many arrived at around midday having marched through the streets of Parramatta in support of marriage equality.
As well as hosting a combined agency stall, Fostering NSW had arranged to give an informal presentation in the marquee space for anyone wishing to explore fostering and adoption.
This was a trial of the idea of capturing people in situ at community events and it ended up working differently to how we had imagined. Because numbers were small, the session became more of a ‘clinic’, where people could speak at length one-on-one with agency staff and pick up materials from all of the agencies to peruse at their leisure. We met a couple of extraordinary people who have since made enquiries and been referred on to agencies that best matched their situations.
While it was a boutique event with a limited audience, we all agreed that having a presence was very worthwhile. At this time of intense public debate, in which some LGBTQI people feel they are less valued than other members of society, it was wonderful to be able to say: “We’re here, we support you, and we need you to care for our young people”.
Special thanks to Weiyan (Creating Links), Mary-Cheryl (Challenge), Karen and Leigh-Anne (Barnardos) for giving their time to support us on the day. It was a real example of the dedication and collaboration that goes on every day in our sector, and is very much appreciated.