New wellness area for our staff

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As a Foster Care agency, our staff deal with lots of highs and lows in their work, and every day can bring new stresses which can sometimes be extreme.

We felt it was necessary to provide our staff a wellness area, which will give them a welcoming space with fresh air and greenery to help balance the stresses of day to day roles each undertake in this challenging field.🌿

The area is set up on our lovely balcony space at our offices at 75 Main Street, Alstonville. It also looks out over the balcony-clad roofs of the historical town – great for taking it all in, with a few breaths and some breathing space. As our work is full of a lot of emotions from all parties, a calm place to rest is very important.

We value all our wonderful staff very much, and appreciate the work they do every day. Thank you all!

Your Youth Care team.

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Youth Care cinema afternoon!

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Youth Care UPA recently provided a movie afternoon for our Carers, and some of the young people in our program, to see Instant Family – a film they could really relate to!

Instant Family is a film about Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) who decide to start a family, and they stumble into the world of foster care adoption. They hope to take in one small child but when they meet three siblings, including a rebellious 15 year old girl (Isabela Moner), they find themselves speeding from zero to three kids overnight. Now, Pete and Ellie must try to learn the ropes of ‘instant parenthood’ in the hopes of becoming a family. INSTANT FAMILY is inspired by the real events from the life of writer/director Sean Anders and also stars Octavia Spencer, Tig Notaro and Margo Martindale.

There was laughter and tears in the movie as the Carers saw a lot of their own stories unfold on screen – a great afternoon overall and something we look forward to doing again.

The Youth Care team.

 

 

 

Family Fun Day

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Foster Care Week was held recently and to celebrate, UPA Youth Care were part of a team that organised a Family Fun Day at the Alstonville Leisure Centre.

During Foster Care Week, five foster care agencies, including Family and Community Services worked together to produce a great day full of activities including jumping castles, live performances, a photo booth, hip hop workshops, a reptile display and arts and crafts to name a few.

A special art project facilitated by our carer and mentor Karma Barnes was the highlight. Everyone who attended on the day were asked to paint a heart and all the hearts were glued to five big hearts that are now displayed in each of the five agencies.

Attendees also had the chance to participate in this mural creation (see images) which turned out very well indeed!

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Youth Care UPA were so happy to be a part of this very special day, a big thank you to our wonderful carers for the incredible work they do.

Foster Care Information Evening

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Have you ever thought about Foster Caring?

Becoming a Foster Carer can be a very rewarding journey. By providing a stable, caring family environment for a child or young person you can make a very positive difference to not only the child, but their birth family, and to the world.

Youth Care UPA often receive enquiries around the different types of Foster Care available, how you become a Foster Carer and the training involved, so we hold regular information evenings.

Attendees are able to find out more about Youth Care UPA, the support and services we offer, what it means to be a Foster Carer (both temporary and permanent), and how you can train to be a Carer.

The evenings are hosted by Aiden Thomas, Youth Care UPA’s Program Manager. Aiden also dedicates some time to a Q&A, so you can ask him your questions and learn from others too.

Anyone who is interested in temporary (from 1 weekend to 6 weeks) or permanent Foster Caring is encouraged to attend one of our no obligation information evenings.

Next Info Evening Date to be announced soon!

To express your interest, please call our team on 02 6620 4400.

Related Tag: Foster Carer Training Alstonville

Youth Care Christmas Party

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The Youth Care UPA team were delighted to hold our annual Christmas Party Celebration on December 3rd at the Alstonville Leisure Centre.

In attendance were the children, the carers, support staff, some birth families, and the Youth Care UPA team too of course. We were really happy with the turn out and everyone had such a great day full of activities and fun to kick off the holiday season.

The guest of honour was of course Santa Claus himself, he showed up to deliver presents and cheer, but that wasn’t the only highlight. There was an awesome Tug-of-War that everyone really got into, there was a face painter, an inflatable water slide, laser skirmish, a jumping castle and a craft table!

youth care picture 510x504 - Youth Care Christmas PartyWe had a canvas ready with a big tree painted on it, and carers and children participated in the art by creating the leaves using their hand prints. It turned out beautifully and currently adorns our office wall.

youth care christmas present 560x504 - Youth Care Christmas PartyAnother great moment was when all of the carers were gifted succulent plants from their kids that said “thanks for helping me grow”, really moving to see.

We want to give a huge thanks to everyone that organised and attended. We are looking forward to the new year and growing more with you all already.

As usual, we will all be available over the Christmas & New Year period, so don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Happy Holidays All,
The Youth Care UPA team.

Related Tag: Foster Care Byron Bay


A day to remember

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On Sunday the 27th of August, Youth Care UPA celebrated 20 years of service providing out of home care to children and young people on the North Coast with a day full of activities and fun. The special event which included a lunch and entertainment was held at Alstonville Showground.

Jeff McDonald, Program Manager (who has been with Youth Care UPA since the beginning when it was called Kids in Care) organised the event with the help of the dedicated Youth Care team.

“We really wanted to thank anyone who had been involved with our service, whatever their role, over the past two decades”, said Mr McDonald.

Two hundred people attended the milestone event. Guests were kids with their foster families, children of the foster families, staff both current and past of Youth Care UPA, local politicians – The Hon Thomas George Member for Lismore and Tamara Smith Greens Member for Ballina, a representative from FaCS, and many more.

“We were lucky enough to have the first ever young person we had in foster care attend,” said Mr McDonald.

“The Massey Brothers provided music, and Horace Bevan was MC,” said Mr McDonald of the entertainment lineup, “There was a BBQ lunch catered for by the Lions Club of Alstonville – so a big thanks to them, and there were jumping castles, rides, farm animals and a craft table for kids.”

“When we started the general feeling was that we probably wouldn’t be around for the long term. The battles we have had to fight just to maintain our presence in the sector right from the beginning and to achieve what we have and to be placed where we are now certainly needed celebrating.”

The next steps for Youth Care UPA moving forward are to strive for more growth to be able to provide a better future for the children and young people in the program.

“We will do this with always keeping the best interest of the children and young people as our motivating factor,” said Mr McDonald.

Related Tag: Foster Carer Byron Bay


UPA Youth Care Celebrate 20 Years of helping our Young People

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UPA Youth Care recently held a fantastic dinner and entertainment night to celebrate and honour the foster carers in our area who do amazing work every day.

On the night, 59 adults and 34 children and young people attended, feasting on a beautiful meal and enjoying activities and live music.

Aiden Thomas is the Program Manager for UPA Youth Care Services. His work with Indigenous youth earned him the Kids in Community award for Mentoring at risk youth. Aiden has worked in the Community Services Field for 20 years, in many varied roles including being a Foster Carer himself for 5 years.

“It is so important to recognise the amazing work and support the carers provide to the foster children,” said Aiden. “It’s a great opportunity to get together and showcase the work everybody does, and to connect with other likeminded people.”

It is estimated that there are now 43,000 children in out-of-home care in Australia, and that’s more than doubled since 1990. Unfortunately, due to laws and regulations that currently seriously limit adoption numbers (just 278 children were adopted in Australia last year), it’s more important than ever that there are willing and able carers who are available to protect these children and give them a foster home.

Aiden hopes that UPA Youth Care will be able to achieve their goal of recruiting a further fifty carer households, and then provide care to 100 children and young people this coming year.

UPA Youth Care commenced operations twenty years ago with Jeff McDonald as Program Manager (Jeff announced his upcoming retirement at the dinner), with a contract from the department for just 9.23 children. Back then, they operated with just two staff members and the name, “Kids in Care”.

This twentieth year of operation sees UPA Youth Care with an agreement from the department for 68 young people and 13 staff.

“When UPA Youth Care first began, we were the first non-government Foster Care Agency on the Far North Coast. When accreditation of agencies was first legislated, we were the first agency on the Far North Coast and the seventh in the state to achieve this outcome. We were also the first agency in the state to achieve our latest accreditation under new standards,” said Aiden.

“This is because we put the children at the centre of everything we do. Always. We want to help them be all they can be and that’s our message to anyone considering becoming a Carer. It can be both a challenging and highly rewarding experience, and can change somebody’s entire world.”

UPA Youth Care consider their Carers and children ‘family’ and that’s why they hold events, such as the recent Carer’s dinner, to bring everyone together in a setting and atmosphere that’s different, and more relaxed than usual.

Related Tag: The Foster Care Agency Lismore