Florence and Sean’s story
Florence and Sean Caird are passionate about providing Aboriginal children in need with a loving, stable home. They place a high value on helping the children they foster to maintain their connection with culture and family. Florence knows first-hand the value of foster care, having grown up in care herself.
“My husband Sean and I started fostering in November last year so we’re quite new to foster caring,” Florence said.
“We chose to foster with Yorganop because we knew they are an agency that predominantly dealt with Aboriginal children and we wanted to be part of something special.
“I was placed into foster care when I was around 9-years-old and was with my foster parents until I left home at 19. From my experience and having personally been raised in foster care, it’s about being able to give kids in difficult circumstances the opportunity of a better chance in life.
“I used to work in policing and dealt with children who came from dysfunctional home situations. After being unsuccessful with having our own children, Sean and I decided to go into foster caring, to give other kids in less fortunate situations a better chance and start in life.
“So far, we’ve had two kids in respite care, a four-year-old boy and a six-year-old girl as well as a ten-year-old boy who’s permanent. He was a bit of a difficult case. When we came along and with our career backgrounds we were approached to take him on, as it was felt, we’d be able to provide the firm guidance and stability he needed. We’ve had to be very careful in establishing trust, he’s slowly settling in both at home and school with positive feedback of his progress in the short time with us. It’s also rewarding and positive when you see children open up on a social level. It’s important for children in care to feel comfortable and safe as we know it can take them a long time to feel settled.
“We as a couple will continue to be consistent in providing love, support, guidance and nurture children through their journey whilst with us or if there is a point of reunification with their biological family. We will be happy for them and reassured, of the things we teach them, there will be something they’ve remembered that will help them through their life’s journey.
“My foster parents are non-indigenous but they always made a point of maintaining my connection to my culture and my biological family. They’d take me to visits with my parents, brothers and sisters and were quite positive about me wanting to maintain contact. I still have a lot to do with both my foster family and biological family, sadly my natural parents both died, separately, in tragic circumstances many years ago.
"I’ve been asked to become a Board Member at Foster Care Association because of my previous work history and knowledge of indigenous issues as well as my familiarity with being a child in foster care.”
“I’m from New Zealand and I identify very strongly with the Maori culture which is very similar in a lot of ways to Aboriginal culture,” Sean said.
“Flo and I wanted to care for indigenous children. Helping them to maintain that sense of culture, connection to family and to the land. It’s so important and it helps them identify where they come from. I’m not Maori, but I grew up really entrenched in the culture and was invited to a lot of cultural events. It’s really important to me, and I want to help our indigenous children have that sense of belonging as well, within their culture and family.
“I have a boy from a previous relationship in New Zealand. He’s half Maori and from day one I’ve made sure that he’s had that connection with the Maori culture. He went to a Maori school and is bilingual and has a strong sense of his own identity.
“Our current placement has been a challenge for both of us at times. We will have good and not so good days, which is normal for any child. It’s about building a mutual trust and respect with him and in doing so we reap the rewards through his actions.
“Fostering for us, is about working together as a couple, to give children we are privileged to look after a loving and safe home environment, whilst maintaining contact with their biological families if possible.