18 November, 2014

Orange Family Centre

Bigger and better: Barnardos Australia crisis carer Gemma Cisco says the organisation’s new centre in Orange will make it easier for clients to access services.

Barnardos Australia carer Gemma Cisco says the expanded premises for the Orange office will make a world of difference to the children she cares for and their families.

The child protection service opened its new building at 160 Kite Street yesterday, after moving from cramped quarters on William Street, which will house its intensive family preservation service, adolescent family care and children’s family centre services.

Mrs Cisco said the move would make it easier for families connected to Barnardos to access the help they needed in one place.

“It’s so much better set up - we will have our contact visits here in winter when it’s too cold to go outside, and it’s more like a home. There’s a kitchen set up, and everything’s under the same roof, the clients can go to all their appointments in one place,” she said.

Mrs Cisco and her husband began caring for foster children through Barnardos in Melbourne more than 10 years ago.

After they moved to Orange eight years ago, they waited until the organisation opened a centre in Orange in 2011 to become the first crisis carers in the city.

Mr and Mrs Cisco, who have four children themselves, look after foster children seven years old and younger for up to a year until more permanent care is found or they are returned to their parents or extended family.

Mrs Cisco said couldn’t go past Barnardos because it had a holistic approach to child protection.

“For everyone at Barnardos, it’s very important to maintain that family contact. The little one I’m looking after at the moment will see her mother every week - even though she lives hours away,” Mrs Cisco said.

“It’s important for them to maintain contact with their families because that’s who they are, especially as they get older, they need to know where they came from. And the ultimate goal for Barnardos is to get them back with their family if they can.”

(This article was first published in the Central Western Daily and was written by Alexandra King. Photo by Megan Foster.)