SHOW YOU CARE: Bathurst resident Shona Meurant, who has been a dedicated foster carer for Barnados for 19 months, hopes more residents will reach out to help children in need. Photo: PHIL BLATCH

Children in the Bathurst area are in urgent need of a loving, nurturing home to support them after a rough start in life.

Barnardos case manager Belinda Waterhouse says there aren’t enough foster carers in the region to meet the demand for a variety of caring roles.

“We’re screaming out for crisis carers and respite carers right now,” she said.

“We don’t have many carers out here for placements.”

Barnardos is looking for people who can care for a child in their home and who will provide them with a loving, nurturing and safe environment for an extended period of time.

Carers who successfully undergo the necessary assessments and training will be matched with a child whose needs they can meet.

Single parents, same-sex partners and traditional families are all eligible to be carers.

“We need people who are gong to treat the child like a member of their family,” Ms Waterhouse said.

“The capacity of the carer needs to match the needs of the child and it doesn’t matter what that looks like.”

Bathurst resident Shona Meurant, who has been a foster carer with Barnardos for the past 19 months, can’t express how rewarding it is to offer guidance to a young child in need.

Since she started with Barnardos, she said the organisation had been able to offer her a wealth of support to ensure she was not overwhelmed by the responsibility of caring for a child.

She encourages anyone who is in a position to open up their home to a young person to contact Barnardos.

“You have your ups and downs, but at the end of it all they’re just like your own children,” she said.

Ms Waterhouse said anyone wanting to get involved should contact the Orange office on 6393 6000.

(This article first appeared in the Western Advocate on September 24, 2015 and was written by Rachel Ferrett.)