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Calling for help: Barnardos Australia Orange branch crisis short-term care case manager Samantha Coffey helps families whose children have been removed, to overcome safety issues so the children can be returned. (Photo: JUDE KEOGH)

A charity organisation that helps children safely return to their families instead of remaining in foster care is unable to help any more Orange children due to a shortage of carers.

Barnardos Australia Orange branch crisis short- term care case managers Debbie Lytton and Samantha Coffey said there is a desperate need for more carers if more families are to be helped to overcome issues and stay together.

She said it is was especially pertinent as holidays, such as the upcoming Easter holidays, also make it difficult for some families to manage resulting in children being put at risk.

Mrs Lytton said the basis of the crisis short-term care is to look after children and work with their family to overcome the safety issues that caused the children to be removed in the first place, so they can be returned, and they are one of the only organisations to offer the service.

“Where our program comes into it children who have been removed from home for safety reasons, they come into our program,” she said.

“With our short-term crisis care our focus is on the Orange area because it’s very intense but we do cover Bathurst and Cowra as well.”

The issues included neglect, drug and alcohol abuse as well as domestic violence and families from all areas of society and walks of life are affected.

“Drugs are a very big issue in Orange at the moment and domestic violence has a big effect as well,” she said.

The Orange program has been running for almost two years and Mrs Lytton said five children, all from Orange, have been through the program in the last 18 months.

“It’s not a lack of wanting more [children], at the moment we cannot take any more children because we don’t have any more carers,” Mrs Lytton said.

“We do try to get those children home, we don’t necessarily want them in the care system, we do want them to be at home.”

She said Barnardos Australia has a recruitment drive for more carers and the main requirements are commitment to looking after young children, be over 21 and a non smoker. Applicants also need to pass police checks and working with children checks and will undergo carer training. Once approved there is an allowance of $80 per child per night with 24 hour support from a case manager.

For more information phone 1800 663 441.

(This article was first published in the Central Western Daily and was written by Tanya Marschke)

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