Australia’s longest-serving foster carer recently celebrated 60 years of service and she continues to do her part in giving vulnerable kids a safe and loving home to grow in.
Elisabeth, 81, from Brisbane South, was recognised for her foster care efforts last Wednesday at a presentation at The Glen Hotel, dedicating six decades to caring for hundreds of babies, children, and teenagers across Queensland and New South Wales.
In just this century alone Lis added 78 kids to her familial circle.
Lis, whose husband died in 2000, is still in touch with many of her former foster children who are now adults and hopes her story will help others to consider opening their homes and their hearts. She has already made her mark, inspiring her granddaughter to enter the industry.
“We wish we weren’t needed but, in today’s society especially, there’s just an immense need for carers,” Lis told 7News.
For someone who didn’t have a plan when she became a foster carer, Lis said it all just “fell into place.”
“There were many times over the years that I thought I wouldn’t be able to carry on with fostering due to health issues, difficult times and upsets, and yet here I am,” the great-grandmother said.
Lis’ top tips for being a foster carer include always considering the child’s best interest and advocating for them.
“Aim to do the best you can, be gentle on yourself and ask for help when the road is too rough,” she said.
“The skills or abilities needed to be a foster carer are many and varied, but above all, resilience and a good sense of humour are essential!”
Last week’s celebration comes as care provider Mercy Community – the organisation Lis fosters through – prepares to launch a new campaign later this month aimed at encouraging more people to become foster carers.
Are you a foster carer like Lis? We’d love to hear your story in the comments below!