Recruitment drive: The team at Barnardos are calling for more foster carers. Anita Tong (third from right, second back row) said there's a shortage in the Rouse Hill area.

Grace Alfa tried for 14 years to fall pregnant without success.

But The Ponds resident was still determined to look after and care for children.

“I thought I could be carer for some other kids who need a home,” she said.

“Even though they’re not my own kids, I love them and treat as if they were my own.”

Mrs Alfa made the decision to become a foster carer for charity Barnardos almost a year ago.

Even though they're not our own kids, I love them and treat them as if they were my own.
- Grace Alfa

In that time, she has looked after eight foster children – four sets of siblings all under five-years-old.

Mrs Alfa looked after the sets of foster children for different amounts of time.

Some of the sets she looked after for four weeks while others were looked after for more than five months.

She said the decision to become a foster carer was a rewarding one.

“I love children, it’s the reason why I became a foster carer,” she said.

Barnardos is looking for more people in the Rouse Hill area, with there currently being a shortage of foster carers.

Anita Tong from Barnardos said the charity is searching for more people like Mrs Alfa to become carers.

“Grace is one of the only carers in The Ponds and we have another one in nearby Glenhaven,” she said.

“There’s a greater need for carers.”

The campaign for foster carers across Rouse Hill comes after a similar campaign in the Blacktown area.

Mrs Tong, who is based at the charity’s Auburn office, said the shortage exists despite a large number of initial inquiries to become foster carers.

“A lot of people like the idea of it...but they tend not to follow through,” she said.

“Foster caring is really hard but it’s also rewarding.”

Mrs Tong said those wanting to apply to become foster carers can come from a range of backgrounds.

“Foster caring is all inclusive, they can be any relationship status,” she said.

“They can be parents or single parents or be a same-sex couple.

“At the end of the day we want people who love kids.”

With a recruitment drive for foster carers well under way, Mrs Tong said she hopes more people from the area will be able to bring children in need into their lives.

“We’re just trying to find people who have space for a child to be loved,” she said.

“We’re definitely seeking more people to come on board.”

Details: 1800 663 441

(This article first appeared in the Rouse Hill Courier and was written by Andrew Brown.)