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A taste T Fostering ShAring food and stories • Building relAtionships

A book by Key Assets AustrAliA


PUBLISHED BY Key Assets – the Children’s Services Provider Building 7, Freeway Office Park, 2728 Logan Road, Eight Mile Plains QLD 4113 www.keyassets.com.au © Key Assets Australia ISBN 978-0-646-94228-5 PHOTOGRAPHY NSW – Omid Daghighi QLD – Cory Rossiter SA – Nat Rogers WA – Matt Devlin DESIGN Algo Más Marketing COPYWRITING Algo Más Marketing All rights reserved. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of research or private study, or criticism or review, as permitted under Copyright, this publication may not be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publishers.


A taste T Fostering

Telling the the stories stories Telling of Australian Australian foster foster of carers and and sharing sharing carers their family family recipes recipes their from the the heart heart of of the the from home – – the the kitchen. kitchen. home


Contents

ROD AND PHIL�������������������������������� 9

Chantelle AND Geoff���������������������� 18

Helen AND Neil�����������������������������26

Lemon Meringue Pie���������������������������14

Savoury Muffins������������������������������������22

Helen's Lasagna�����������������������������������30

Avocado Soup��������������������������������������16

Flourless Chocolate Muffins���������������24

Broccoli Salad���������������������������������������32

Hazel���������������������������������������34

Rita���������������������������������������������42

Pure����������������������������������������� 50

Summer Smoothie�������������������������������38

Mumma's Meatballs����������������������������46

Chicken and Pumpkin Dumplings�����54

Berry D'Lite�������������������������������������������40

Tiramisu�������������������������������������������������48

Chinese Steamed Fish�������������������������56

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A Taste of Fostering


Tara-Louise and brendan .......... 58

Uvonne aND DaVID ..................... 66

Sam and Adrian...................................74

Easy Cheese and Chive Scones .........62

Warm Chicken Salad ...........................70

Waffle Berry Pudding ...........................78

Banana and Berry Bliss ........................64

Chicken Stir Fry ....................................72

Self Saucing Festive Pudding .............80

Jules allen................... 82 Tom Ka Gai .......................................... 86 Chocolate chunck & popping candy cookies ...................... 88

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Foster carers are ordinary people doing extraordinary things

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A Taste of Fostering


Foreword t T

he importance of food cannot be underestimated. Some recent American research demonstrated that the most profound influence for food on a child was the ability to sit and partake in a meal with a family. So I am delighted to introduce A Taste of Fostering telling the stories of foster carers in Australia. In recent times I have been fortunate to meet carers from all over the world, and to recognise that we share many things – and I have come to appreciate the power of food.

Foster carers are ordinary people doing extraordinary things and provide children and young people the opportunity to experience family life – the simple, everyday things that we can easily take for granted. Being part of a family is so important, because that’s how children who’ve had a difficult start get the chance to grow and heal. Although there are differences in systems, cultures and everyday lives, there are some basic things that children require. A place where there is no shouting or threats of violence, warmth, clean sheets, good meals – and of course adults who make a commitment to them and will go that extra mile.

There are examples where foster carers provide a safe place in times of trouble and where comfort and love are provided as well as a favourite meal. Others who have helped siblings remain together and make mealtimes relaxing and enjoyable – and taken the time to teach children new lifelong skills. And those who, by giving extra thought to preparation, show their kindness and their care. I know you will enjoy reading their stories and I am sure you will want to try their tasty recipes. And, I hope that as you find out about these people making a difference, you may think that – in your own way – you can too.

So, as the search continues for people willing to open their homes and their hearts to children who are not their own, I think we can learn a lot from foster carers about their own motivation to take this on. The stories that follow from Australian foster carers highlight a variety of different reasons why people wanted to become a carer.

Jan Rees CO-FOUNDER CORE ASSETS GROUP

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Introduction I

am delighted to provide an introduction to 'A Taste of Fostering – Australia'.

This is one of a series of books published by Key Assets and the Core Assets group. Previous books have been published in Sweden, the United Kingdom and Japan. I remember when I was given my first copy of Recipe’s for Fostering, I was moved by the stories from carers and how they had used meals and cooking as a place to create belonging, memories and shared culture. A simple meal can be a life changing experience that helps children feel connected to family and part of a wider community. In this book we have nine stories from some wonderful carers who are doing simple, everyday family things that are making positive and lasting differences in the lives of children. These carers

demonstrate their RESPECT, PASSION and LOVE for young people and their capacity to provide PROTECTION, SAFETY, SUPPORT and a sense of COMMUNITY. Creating and sharing a meal together is a way children and young people can feel pride in their achievements. Carers use CREATIVITY and COMPASSION to create space to talk about the joys and troubles of each day. In turn young people learn how much fun it can be to cook and eat together. As a family they can then celebrate success and PROGRESS through everyday achievements. In my view these values are all essential ingredients required from carers to make a difference to children in out of home care. Vincent Armore’s poem “My food is your food” is a lovely reflection on how taking a seat at the table for a meal can be the hardest part. Carers can provide such a wonderful link through food to help welcome a young person to their table and their home. In turn the meal can be one of the most effective ways to connect carers and children.

My food is your food – Vincent Armore Grab a chair, and let’s eat feast and laugh, and enjoy God's gifts toast and drink to great family, and friends of all nationality and colour So grab a chair at my table whoever you are I am hungry And all that I have is for all to enjoy But first you have to sit at my table and that sometimes is the hardest part of the meal

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I would like to thank all the carers who volunteered their time and stories to be part of this book. I would also like to acknowledge the many carers who offered recipes for this book but were not able to be included for this edition. We had an overwhelming response to the request for stories and recipes and have enough material to begin a second book. Thanks also to Ivana Urosevic, Marketing Manager, South Australia, Wayne Ferguson, State Director Victoria and Algo Más for your work in helping to bring to life, 'A Taste of Fostering – Australia'.

Rob Ryan EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR (AUSTRALASIA) STATE DIRECTOR (QUEENSLAND)


Rod and Phil McLaren Flat South Australia


Rod and Phil MCLAREN FLAT SOUTH AUSTRALIA

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od and Phil live in the picturesque landscape of McLaren Flat in South Australia.

Rod grew up in a farming community on the outskirts of Sydney but moved to the region to set up two artisan cheeseries in the Adelaide Hills. Phil, on the other hand, is born and bred in McLaren Flat. Together the couple care for their foster child, Ryder. Rod first heard of Key Assets through online research and remembers thinking at the time that being a stay at home Dad sounded very appealing. From this initial idea, Rod’s passion and ambition to protect and help children and the community took hold. The couple undertook essential skills training before taking in their first placement, Ryder. They describe the training they received as being confronting, but it certainly didn’t dampen their enthusiasm or energy to foster. “I remember when we were first approached to care for Ryder. The phone rang at moments to five on a Friday evening and we were told about this child. We had an honest and frank discussion through the weekend, as there were some extreme behaviour issues to deal with. So we thrashed it out, but by the time Monday morning came we were ready to meet Ryder,” Rod says.

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The couple have had to work closely with Key Assets to manage some of Ryder’s extreme behaviours in a safe way. This has involved helping Ryder to understand boundaries and limit his risky actions. As Phil explains, “Sometimes he is angry and you don’t have any idea what the anger is about. You just have to talk it through until you get to the bottom of it.”

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01 Phil and Rod, at home in the kitchen 02 Phil harvesting the tomatoes grown in his garden 03 Some of the years harvest of tomatoes 04 The family cat Poppy 05 Ryder loves to draw

Rod and Phil try to manage the behaviours with creativity. They enjoy sharing their ideas with the team at Key Assets and often find new ways to encourage Ryder to adopt safer behaviours through their Key Assets community. “Key Assets feels like an extended family. I can really count on the team for advice and support when Ryder’s behaviours are challenging. For example, he used to behave in such an unsafe way; he didn’t understand boundaries or how to act appropriately around strangers. He used to run over to strangers and hug them and we used to literally peel him off people in shopping centres. This is obviously extremely unsafe, so we had to teach him that it was inappropriate and show him new, safer ways to seek affection.”

06 Phil and Rod

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safety

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Rod and Phil MCLAREN FLAT SOUTH AUSTRALIA

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Rod and Phil ensure they never compromise on the quality of Ryder’s care and safety. They are patient and pragmatic in their approach and spend countless hours with Ryder teaching him new skills and appropriate behaviours. “You have to take a lot of time explaining things, which can be exhausting. For example, showing him how to interact with the cat properly. It’s a big investment in time,” says Phil.

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The rewards have certainly far outweighed the challenges for Rod and Phil. The sense of pride they receive from seeing Ryder develop and adopt safer behaviours is priceless. “You see him succeed at something and revel in his own success, it might be the simplest of things like learning to tie a shoelace, it’s huge for him. Little things like that are so rewarding,” says Rod affectionately.

Rod and Phil display wonderful passion and creativity in their caring and the time and energy they invest in managing the risks of change has paid dividends in Ryder’s progress.


it might be the simplest of things like learning to tie a shoelace, it’s huge for him. 01 Ryder picking the fruit for the recipe 02 Burgo the pet budgie

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03 Phil and Rod enjoying their backyard 04 Flowers in Rod and Phil’s garden

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LEMON MERINGUE PIE

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MAKES 1 large pie PREPARATION 30 minutes

Rod and Phil MCLAREN FLAT SOUTH AUSTRALIA

INGREDIENTS PASTRY 70g (½ cup) self-raising flour 130g (¾ cup plus 1 tbsp) plain flour 30g (1 tbsp plus 3 tsp) caster sugar 150g cold butter (cubed) 1 large egg FILLING 56g (4 tbsp plus 3 tsp) cornflour 170g (¾ cup sugar) 180ml (2/3 cup plus 2 tsp) fresh lemon juice 230ml (2/3 cup plus ¼ cup) water 60g butter (cubed) 3 large egg yolks Zest of half a lemon

COOKING TIME 30–40 minutes

METHOD Preheat oven to 180°C. 1 Begin with the pastry, knead butter into dry ingredients till well combined then fold in egg. 2 Press into a deep pie dish. Place in oven till lightly golden and allow to cool on bench.

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Next, the filling. 3 In a saucepan while stirring constantly simmering gently, combine water, lemon juice, butter, egg yolks and sugar, add corn flour and bring to boil, still stirring. 4 Spoon into cooled pastry shell in pie dish. 5 Lastly, the meringue topping. Increase oven to 200°C. Beat egg whites in large bowl with mixer on high till soft peaks, add caster sugar gradually while beating. Continue beating till all sugar has dissolved and stiff peaks can form. Spoon or pipe onto filling, then bake till peaks are golden brown.

MERINGUE 3 large egg whites 170g (¾ cup) caster sugar 4

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Avocado AVOCado . Soup

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Rod and Phil MCLAREN FLAT SOUTH AUSTRALIA

SERVES 8 PREPARATION 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS 2 avocados ¾ pint extra strong chicken stock (degreased) /3 pint double cream (lightly whipped)

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½ pint of plain yoghurt 1 small onion (grated) ¼ pint tomato cocktail or tomato juice 1

Salt, pepper and Tabasco sauce to taste

METHOD 1 Peel, de-stone and mash avocados with a fork until smooth. 2 Whisk in chicken stock, cream, yoghurt, onion and tomato juice. Season well. If soup is too thick, dilute with a little extra stock. Serve chilled.

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CHANTELLE and Geoff Aldinga beach South Australia


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hantelle and Geoff have been carers with Key Assets for three years. They both grew up in New Zealand before moving to Australia with their respective families.

After meeting in Queensland, the couple got married and eventually decided to make the move to South Australia. Chantelle and Geoff began their foster care journey providing respite care on weekends. It was on one such weekend that they met their foster child, Jasmine. Chantelle and Geoff both felt an incredible bond with Jasmine, so when her current placement wasn’t working out, the couple were the obvious choice due to their passion for helping children realise their potential. Chantelle remembers the time well, “The decision to assume full time care for a child should never be taken lightly. We took a couple of days to think about it, I wanted to make sure that I was making the right decision, not just for us but also for Jasmine.” After much consideration, Chantelle and Geoff agreed that with enthusiasm and determination they could really help Jasmine grow as a person. Not long after Jasmine moved into the family home, the couple were faced with another tough decision. It was decided that Jasmine and her brother Cole should live together, which meant that Chantelle and Geoff had to decide whether to care for both children or lose Jasmine. This was a tough decision as Cole was exhibiting extreme behaviours and would be a real challenge to care for. Determined to make the situation work and provide the children with a safe environment to call home, the couple became full time carers to the siblings.

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01 New Zealand Tiki statue from Chantelle and Geoff's birth place 02 New Zealand Tiki mask 03 Paintings by Cole

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Chantelle and Geoff ALDINGA BEACH SOUTH AUSTRALIA

It’s been a challenging journey for the family as they constantly strive to help the children develop and adopt more appropriate behaviours. The couple set high standards for themselves in providing quality care to the children and certainly don’t have any regrets when it comes to their decision to foster. The results that they see through the children’s improved behaviours make it all worthwhile. As Geoff explains, “Through the challenging times, you just focus on the day-to-day and every small achievement a child makes is a positive. You have to celebrate those achievements and know you’ll get through the challenging times.”

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Chantelle agrees, “It’s a matter of creating a family unit for them, and providing a bit of security so that they can grow and reach their full potential. When children experience normal, everyday family life they gain the confidence to do new things. For example, we take the children on regular camping trips, something they didn’t do before coming to us. There’s no technology or anything, they’ve really got to create their own fun.” For Chantelle, seeing the siblings bond and develop a meaningful relationship has been an extremely rewarding experience. When the children first came to her they lacked the skills to interact with each other appropriately and tantrums would regularly erupt in the household. Chantelle explains the progress the children have made, “The other day I took them to the park and they were both riding their bikes. They were sticking together, riding alongside each other and they were both singing the same song in unison and it sounded so cool. There was a lady there with her kids and she was looking at me and smiling because she thought it was neat too. Before they came to us, they didn’t actually spend a lot of time together and the interactions were quite dysfunctional. They would shout and scream at one another and become violent. So now, to be able to play together, not screaming or hitting 20

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each other, and be singing in unison is really cool and such a turnaround. It’s great to see them engage and treat each other with respect,” says Chantelle affectionately. Helping the children to develop life skills is a real focus for Chantelle and Geoff and is another way they demonstrate their passion for helping the children realise their full potential. They enjoy spending time in the kitchen as a family teaching the children to cook. As a health conscious family they focus on natural foods and pack main meals with as many vegetables as they can. “I make sure the children don’t eat junk food. I just don’t buy it. I also try to buy gluten free produce wherever possible,” Chantelle explains.

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Geoff agrees, “Anything with sugar is a no-go zone. The children’s behaviours just escalate when they eat sugar but we try to make treats without sugar, using natural honey instead. That really works well and we notice a real difference in the children when they don’t eat sugar.” The couple attribute much of their progress with the children to healthy eating and avoiding processed, sugar-laden food. In fact the recipes they have shared here are staples in the family home as sugar and junk food substitutes. Under the guidance of dedicated carers, like Chantelle and Geoff, the potential of Jasmine and Cole is certainly being realised as they develop into well adjusted, healthy children.


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passion Passion

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It’s a matter of creating a family unit for them, and providing a bit of security. 01 Cole is a big fan of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 02 Roger the family rabbit 03 Geoff relaxing at home 04 Jasmine's toy collection 05 Jasmine digging into some savoury muffins 5

06 Chantelle holding Roger

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SAvoury { { Muffins k

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Chantelle and Geoff ALDINGA BEACH SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MAKES 12 PREPARATION 15 minutes COOKING TIME 15–20 minutes

INGREDIENTS 2 cups self-raising flour 125g melted butter ½ cup grated cheese 1 cup milk 1 egg, lightly beaten ¼ cup mushrooms, finely chopped 1 small red capsicum, finely chopped ½ medium zucchini, finely chopped 1 cup carrots, finely chopped ½ cup spinach, finely chopped 1 tbsp of mixed herbs

METHOD Pre-heat oven to 180°C. Grease muffin tin. 1 Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. 2 Stir in butter, milk and egg until combined. Do not over-mix. 3 Place in muffin tin and 4 bake in oven for 15–20 minutes or 5 until cooked and golden.

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Flourless Chocolate Muffins

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(

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Chantelle and Geoff ALDINGA BEACH SOUTH AUSTRALIA

MAKES 10

METHOD

PREPARATION 15 minutes COOKING TIME 15–20 minutes

INGREDIENTS 1 ½ cups almond meal ½ cup cacao powder ½ tsp baking soda 2 tbsp coconut oil 1 ½ cups pitted dates, finely chopped ¾ cup water 3 eggs large 1 tsp vanilla extract

Option: Once cooled use plain Greek yoghurt and goji berries to decorate.

Pinch of salt

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Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease muffin tin. 1 Sift dry ingredients into a bowl. 2 Put dates and water into a microwave safe bowl. Heat for approximately 1 minute in microwave. Stir with a fork and then heat for a further 2 minutes. Once cooked, stir the date mix with a fork until it forms a relatively smooth paste. Heat coconut oil for approximately 40 seconds in the microwave until melted. 3 Add eggs, and vanilla extract to coconut oil. Whisk with a fork. Add egg mixture to date paste. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix with a spoon. 4 Place mix evenly into muffin pan. 5  Bake in oven for 15–20 minutes.

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Helen and Neil

Binningup Western Australia


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ince becoming foster carers with Key Assets, Neil and Helen have cared for two sets of sibling groups, and they currently have three sisters in their care.

Helen recalls receiving a telephone call late on a Friday night, and just a few hours later her current foster children arrived at her door. “Both situations were urgent and Key Assets were struggling to find somewhere to place them at the time. I remember when the first group came to us, I was alone and my husband was away. So that was a bit scary,” Helen explains. “I was so nervous, but it was a lot easier than I expected. We just made friends and we had a whole week to get to know each other before my husband came home,” she says.

Whilst her first interactions with the children were easy and natural, Helen admits that life as a carer isn’t always so straightforward. She sets high standards for herself and is constantly striving to acquire new skills to provide the children with quality care. Ultimately, she says that putting the needs of the child first is her main priority.

She continues, “When it comes time for the children to move on, every one of them has said, ‘You can come and visit me when I get home’, or ‘Can I call you if I need you?’ That would probably be my most heart-warming moment. Because it means that they do trust us.”

As Helen explains, “They have had such betrayal and they have no trust in anyone. I can always remember the oldest one, saying, ‘Do you remember when I first came to you? I didn’t even know your name. I was so scared, I hid under the bed.’” “I personally have a closer bond to the older ones, because I feel that they are more challenging. When you see that they are coming round and becoming more engaged – it’s really rewarding,” says Helen.

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01 Helen and Neil in the heart of their home 1

02 Helen and Neil’s dining table with flowers from the yard

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Helen and Neil BINNINGUP WESTERN AUSTRALIA

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Key to Neil and Helen’s success has been sharing their feelings with each other and always focusing on the end result, which is ultimately to provide protection to the children and to help them succeed. Helen believes the first step in helping the children to settle into the home is to surround them with some of their favourite things, and this is an approach she extends to the kitchen too. Food is a big focus when she first gets to know a child. She finds that cooking really helps to unlock a child’s creativity and enables them to express themselves in a healthy way.

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“It’s wonderful to see that sense of achievement on their faces when they realise that they have successfully cooked something from scratch,” she explains. “Bailey for instance just loves making cupcakes. It’s her favourite thing. We have to design different cupcakes almost every week. She is very creative and loves coming up with different ideas,” Helen laughs.

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01 Helen and Neil enjoying their outdoor lifestyle 02 Helen and Neil’s home is decorated to match their beach-side lifestyle 03 Shower and towels ready to go after a beach session

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Protection

04 Helen and Neil with Sally the dog 05 Driftwood and shells from the local beach

For the children, it’s a great focus of their energy and allows them to engage their creative side in a positive way. Helen reflects on her own childhood cooking experiences, “I can understand the children loving food. It was a big thing for me too. It was very important. It was about bonding and not necessarily about the food. Sometimes we’d cook the food and I didn’t actually like it. It was more about the experience,” Helen explains. Helen’s ambition for the children has been realised through her hard work and dedication. It’s a rewarding sense of achievement that Helen wouldn’t trade for the world.

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I personally have a closer bond to the older ones, because I feel that they are more challenging.

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s

Helen’s LAsagna s

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Helen and Neil BINNINGUP WESTERN AUSTRALIA

SERVES 8–10 PREPARATION 30 minutes COOKING TIME 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS MEAT SAUCE Olive oil 700g lean beef mince

LAYERING THE LASAGNA

METHOD

Peel, seed and thinly slice pumpkin. Wash and drain the spinach.

MEAT SAUCE 1 Fry onion and garlic in olive oil until browned. Add basil, oregano and bay leaves and fry for another minute. 2 Add mince and fry until cooked. Add Dolmio and tomato paste, simmer for 15 minutes to reduce some liquid. Turn off and remove bay leaves.

1 brown onion

CHEESE SAUCE

2 tsp granulated garlic

3 Melt butter in saucepan and add flour stirring until the mixture rolls away from the sides and forms a ball. Slowly add milk to saucepan stirring continuously until smooth then add more milk, repeat until all gone. Bring to the boil and turn down the heat. Add both cheeses and stir, set aside.

1 tbsp each of dried basil and oregano 4 bay leaves 1 jar of Dolmio red wine and garlic sauce /3 cup tomato paste

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CHEESE SAUCE 120g butter or margarine 1 cup plain flour 3 cups milk

4 Cover base of lasagna dish with meat sauce, top with lasagna sheets and cheese sauce, repeat layering again one more time. Place spinach on cheese sauce and repeat layering one more time. Place pumpkin evenly over cheese sauce and repeat layering one more time. 5 Finish lasagna off with another layer of sheets and cover generously with leftover cheese sauce, sprinkle with grated cheese and place on middle shelf in pre-heated oven at 200°C or 180°C fan-forced for 45 minutes, or until golden brown.

When lasagna is cooked, take out and let stand for 10 minutes before serving. HINT This recipe can be made with any of your favourite veggies, just be creative. With smaller children you may like to shred the spinach finely, grate the pumpkin and add to the meat mixture before layering.

2 cups of grated cheese 1 cup grated parmesan cheese LASAGNA LAYERS 1 packet fresh baby spinach

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Enough pumpkin (any type) to cover 1 layer of tray being used

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1 family packet of dried instant lasagna sheets

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0

Broccoli Salad %K%

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Helen and Neil BINNINGUP WESTERN AUSTRALIA

SERVES 8–12 PREPARATION 20–30 minutes

INGREDIENTS 2 heads of broccoli finely chopped 3 stalks of celery finely chopped 3 spring onion stalks finely chopped 4 rashers of bacon chopped and fried /3 packet of sunflower kernels fried lightly

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Jar of Miracle Whip (mayonnaise) ½ cup brown vinegar ¼ cup brown sugar

METHOD 1 Mix together all salad ingredients in a large bowl. 2 For the dressing, mix the vinegar and sugar until dissolved. Mix/blend in the Miracle Whip (mayonnaise). Pour over the salad vegetables and mix well. Serve immediately.

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Hazel Winthrop Western Australia


01 Masina's well hugged teddy bear 1

02 Hazel enjoying a moment of quiet 03 Hazel’s kitchen

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azel was born and raised in England before immigrating to Australia when she was 18.

Hazel’s interest in fostering came when her own children started attending school and the house suddenly became very quiet during the day. “I think it was the right time. My youngest had been in school full-time for a few years by then, and my older ones were definitely becoming more independent. I really missed having little children around during the day, and so I think that was the main thing that interested me,” she says. Despite Hazel’s eagerness to have another child in the house, she spent months researching foster care before making initial contact with Key Assets. “You don’t go into foster care lightly. I don’t have any regrets; it’s all been an extremely positive experience. But before I got involved, I thought about it long and hard and I talked to my children, because obviously fostering would have an impact on them too,” she says. The preparation and research has stood Hazel in good stead to take up her new career. For Hazel, creating a safe environment is of upmost importance. She recognises and supports the need to provide safe change for the children.

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She ensures this by always talking to the children and trying to understand how they are feeling. Through communication, she supports the transition from one home to another, to minimise any risk to the child’s welfare. Hazel continues, “When you do your training, you’re told the worst-case scenarios. You’re prepared for it to be really difficult, but it is also surprising how joyful it is to have Masina.” Masina, Hazel’s foster child, has an unusual disability, which affects her levels of engagement and involved lengthy spells in hospital when she was very young. As Masina’s primary caregiver, Hazel has had to work closely with the social workers at Key

Assets to develop new ideas on how to engage with Masina to help her achieve her full potential. As Hazel explains, “When she first came to me she didn’t have any interaction at all. She couldn’t move, or roll, or sit up, or anything. She didn’t even make eye contact. She didn’t respond to any stimulation. Now she even looks different. Her face has changed so much, her eyes are bright and she’s got a great sense of humour now.” Hazel believes that given the right, safe environment, children can blossom very quickly.

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Hazel WINTHROP WESTERN AUSTRALIA

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“I find quite often that if you manage the transition period and provide a safe home, the children seem to do very well,” she notes. The progress Masina has made in Hazel’s care is extraordinary; she now laughs, crawls and plays with Hazel’s children, quite unrecognisable from the child she was just eighteen short months ago. As Hazel explains, “She now follows my children around the house. If my son is playing trumpet, she will barge in and crawl up on his lap and listen to him play. She is really quite the character.”

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Hazel enjoys providing a safe and nurturing environment for Masina, and it’s through her dedication and passion that she is able to achieve such a wonderful outcome. Hazel looks forward to her future with Masina and can’t wait to see how her personality blossoms as she gets older.

I don’t have any regrets: it’s all been an extremely positive experience.


01 Hazel and her children Elle, Ashley, Craig and Nicole 02 Hazel’s vintage inspired oven mitts 03 Masina's toys 04 Craig enjoying a smoothie 4

05 Hazel bringing a healthy home cooked meal to the kids

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creativity

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] N ]

Summer Smoothie SMoothie

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Hazel WINTHROP WESTERN AUSTRALIA

METHOD 1 Simply put all the ingredients in the blender 2 and blend till smooth.

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SERVES 1 PREPARATION 5 minutes

INGREDIENTS 1 cup of frozen berries/frozen mango pieces 3–4 large tbsp of natural Greek yoghurt 150ml of coconut water (approx) Handful of chopped baby spinach leaves A sprinkling of white chia seeds If required, a small amount of honey to taste. A Taste of Fostering

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Berry D’lite D’Lite


Hazel WINTHROP WESTERN AUSTRALIA

SERVES 4–6

OPTIONAL EXTRA CRUMBLE TOPPING

PREPARATION 15 minutes COOKING TIME 35 minutes

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

INGREDIENTS

½ cup plain flour

1 cup unsalted butter

75g cold butter chopped into cubes

1 cup flour

½ cup rolled oats

½–1 cup sugar (alternative is rice malt syrup) or sweeten to your own taste

60g pecan nuts (or other nuts)

Place flour and brown sugar in a bowl. Rub in butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in oats, pecans, and coconut until the mixture is combined. Sprinkle crumble over the top.

¼ cup brown sugar

¼ cup shredded coconut

1 egg yolk

Bake for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 180°C and bake for a further 25 minutes.

2 cups frozen berries thawed and drained TOPPING 1 egg yolk 2 tbsp sour cream 2 tbsp flour 2 tbsp of sugar 2

METHOD Preheat oven to 200°C. 1 Mix butter, flour, rice malt syrup and 1 egg yolk in a bowl. 2 When the mixture forms a ball put into cooking container (could be a 20cm tart tin or pie dish) line with baking paper for easy removal. 3 Spread the berries over the dough. For the topping combine the egg yolk with the sour cream and sift the flour and sugar. Drizzle mixture around the berries.

1

Bake for 10 minutes then reduce heat to 180°C and bake for a further 25 minutes. 3

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RITA ROOTY HILL NEW SOUTH WALES


f

or Italian born Rita, caring is in her blood. Rita was the first-born daughter in her family and in line with tradition; she took a prominent role in caring for her siblings.

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“My past was very beautiful, I was always a quiet girl looking after the other children younger than me,” says Rita. Given Rita’s nurturing nature, it came as no surprise, that when her own children grew up and moved out of home, she turned to fostering to fill her empty nest. Another key driver for Rita is her belief that every child is important and should have the opportunity to have their voices heard.

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01 A shelf of treasures from Rita’s home 02 Hemi’s Italian football top 03 Moana's prized teddy bears

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Rita’s first and current placement is siblings Hemi and Moana. She is devoted to their care and wellbeing and focuses on cultivating a fun environment where the children always feel loved and protected. “When the children first came to me, they missed their mother and father and so it was important to love and listen to them and make sure they had a little fun and laughter. To me, every person matters and it’s important to help these children by putting their needs first,” says Rita. Whilst Rita assumes primary care for the children, she is quick to point out that she has a deep respect for the role of the biological family in the children’s lives. She continues, “I am their aunty, I am their cousin, I am their friend, I am anything that they want of me, but their mother? They only have one. It’s my role to see them get a good chance and have a good life.”

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RITA ROOTY HILL NEW SOUTH WALES

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It’s really important that they have someone like me to love and support them.

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“It’s really important that they have someone like me to love and support them, when their families can’t. Unfortunately, I don’t have a husband, but I can be a mother and a father figure. All the kids need is someone to guide them and make sure they enjoy every minute of their lives. That is what I’ve done with my daughters, and I will do it for Hemi and Moana too. They are wonderful kids,” Rita says lovingly. Rita has had a positive experience with fostering, but ultimately she admits that it does take persistence in the initial stages. “You need a lot of patience at first, and you have to try to understand the kids background. The children, no matter what, all have some kind of issue. You have to just go slowly and respond to how the child feels towards you. That’s how you build a bond with the child, through patience,” Rita explains.

For Rita, teaching the children important life skills such as honesty, accountability and to treat people with respect is just as important as having fun. She also teaches them responsibility and the value of money by introducing minor tasks around the home. As Rita explains, “The children have a little money box and if they help with extra chores around the house, such as putting the rubbish out or changing the water for the dog, then they get a little reward.” The foster care journey has been extremely rewarding for Rita, she enjoys seeing the children become confident and capable. The love and affection she receives in return makes it all worthwhile.


Love LOVE

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“The children are very affectionate with me now. For example, Moana is the last to get into school, because when I drop her off she will run back to hug and kiss me. ‘I love you Aunty, don’t go,’ she will say. And in my heart, it's like spring,” she laughs. It’s clear to see that Rita takes her role very seriously. By putting the needs of the children first, she is enabling Hemi and Moana to enjoy their childhood and develop into confident and capable children.

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01 Rita enjoying her backyard 02 Moana's beloved toys 03 Rita serving up an Italian dinner 04 Hemi's Barcelona flag 05 Pinocchio, a favourite from Rita's childhood

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Mumma’s , Meatballs

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RITA ROOTY HILL NEW SOUTH WALES

SERVES 4–6 PREPARATION 15 minutes COOKING TIME 1 hour

INGREDIENTS 500g egg fettuccine MEATBALLS 500g of mince (veal and pork) 1 crushed clove of garlic 1 egg Parsley (fresh and chopped) 2 pinches of salt

1

80ml of milk 170g bread crumbs NAPOLETANA SAUCE 2 bottles of tomato puree (1360g) 1 small shallot

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2 bay leaves 3–4 leaves of fresh basil Salt (according to taste) Pepper

2

METHOD 1 Combine meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Mix well with your hands until nice and firm. 2 Make small round balls. 3 Heat oil in a large pan on medium heat. Add in shallots and cook till soft. 4 Add tomato puree. Place 100ml of water in bottle, shake and add to pan along with the bay leaves, salt and pepper and meatballs. 5 Cover pan, once it comes to the boil lower heat to low. 6 Cook for 1 hour, add basil 5 minutes before serving. 7  Serve with egg fettuccine.

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%

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&

Tiramisu %B&

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RITA ROOTY HILL NEW SOUTH WALES

SERVES 6 PREPARATION 20 minutes COOLING TIME 60 minutes

INGREDIENTS

METHOD

6 eggs

Divide egg whites and yolks and place them in separate containers. Put the yolks and sugar in electric mixer and mix until the colour is soft pink. 3  Add mascarpone cheese and mix. Pour into a separate container. 4 Mix egg whites in electric mixer and add a pinch of salt. Mix until in turns into cream. Add the yolk and egg white together and mix the ingredients until the texture turns in to a smooth cream. 5 Soak each biscuit in coffee 6 Using a baking tray place Savoiardi biscuits on bottom layer and pour mix on top, continue to layer biscuits and mix like a lasagna, ending with mix on top. 7 Add topping of your choice. 8  Place in freezer for a minimum of an hour. 9 Defrost for ½ hour prior to serving. 1 2

1kg mascarpone cheese 300g sugar 1 large packet Savoiardi Italian ladyfingers biscuits Topping of choice Pinch of salt

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1

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PUrE Pure Manly Vale New SOUTH WALES


p

ure grew up in China with her family before immigrating to Australia. As a mum of one young son, Pure was first attracted to the idea of fostering as a means to help the less fortunate and to give back to the community.

As Pure explains, “Since I have become a mum, I’m really passionate about caring for children. When I see a child is suffering, I want to help them. I want every child to have a good life and a sense of belonging. This is where my ambition to become a foster carer came from.” Following a lengthy assessment and training process, Pure was approached by Key Assets to consider caring for a young boy called James. “I first heard of James through the Key Assets social worker. I then had a chat to his respite carer to organise a play date between James and my own son, Luke, to see how they got on. Luckily, they hit it off right away and I could tell James was a lovely boy,” says Pure. Pure felt it was a natural progression to assume responsibility for James, and soon the arrangements were made for James to move in with the family. “It was an adjustment at first, but I think my own son and James now understand that the three of us are a family and we must all work together. I try to be a good role model and show the boys that you should treat people the way you want to be treated. If Luke does something wrong then he gets punished and James is the same. No exceptions,” says Pure.

Pure is extremely community focused and believes that her role as a foster carer is important to build a better community for all. “I think it’s important give back and also to provide a safe environment for these children,” she says. Pure has worked hard to make James feel like part of the family and through honesty and respect she tries to manage the transition period. As Pure explains, “James was always scared in the beginning, but I very quickly noticed a change in him. He started opening up more and more and you could just see him become happier in himself.” Having a son of similar age was crucial in enabling James to settle in and feel secure with the family. “They are good company for one another, they can play and have fun together. For my son it was a bit strange at first because suddenly another little boy moved into the house, and I don’t think he really understood why. I explained to my son that James is with us because his parents were having a difficult time. He needs a family. It’s good for my son to understand there are some children in this world that can’t be with their parents,” says Pure.

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01 Chinese lantern in Pure's home 02 Pure's traditional Chinese figurines

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Pure MANLY VALE NEW SOUTH WALES

I want every child to have a good life and a sense of belonging. Becoming a foster carer and welcoming a new child into the home will always bring challenges. For Pure, it’s important to always act with compassion and integrity, so she relies on the support and community provided by Key Assets to help her do the best job she can. “I know I have support whenever I need it. They promote a culture that enables new ideas to be realised quickly and the sense of community within the organisation is fantastic.” “James has a lot of medical appointments to attend. Key Assets are great at arranging everything for me and supporting me in that way,” says Pure. She continues, “It’s so important to have this community at Key Assets, we can’t do it all on our own. Whether the support comes from a social worker or from friends and family, I need that help as the job can be really demanding.”

01 Pure harvesting her veggie garden 1

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02 The boys' magnetic message board


01 Chinese good luck symbol 02 Pure's connection to her heritage and family is evident throughout her home 03 Pure enjoying some Chinese dumplings

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1

Community Another way Pure instils a sense of community in the children is by teaching them about her own culture. “I’m Chinese and I love teaching the boys about my culture, especially our traditional foods. We often make dumplings together,” she explains. “We are a little multicultural in the kitchen. I cook Chinese and Australian, but I definitely prefer to cook Chinese. When I was young we didn’t have too many choices in China, we had noodles and dumplings. Sometimes on Chinese New Year we would also have a pork stew, but this was generally in short supply. Now of course, we have everything, so I like to share some traditional Chinese food with them when I can,” says Pure. Pure adores her young family, and through her community focus she is able to teach the children strong values whilst having fun along the way.

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Fried Chicken andPumpkin Dumplings N

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Pure MANLY VALE NEW SOUTH WALES

SERVES 4 PREPARATION 20 minutes COOLING TIME 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS SPICY DIPPING SAUCE ¼ cup (60ml) light soy sauce 2 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar /8 tsp sugar

1

2–3 tsp Chinese chilli oil 1 tbsp finely shredded ginger 2 tsp finely chopped garlic FILLING ½ tsp salt 200g butter pumpkin, finely grated

METHOD FILLING 1 In a medium mixing bowl, combine all ingredients except pumpkin, and mix until combined. Then put pumpkin in and mix until combined.

WRAPPING 2 Roll pastry to desired size, pastry should be approximately 3mm thick. 3 Stuff a teaspoon of the filling into the centre of each pastry, fold and seal. 4 Pleat only 1 side of the dumpling – this will pull the dumpling into a traditional crescent shape. If this sounds too difficult, pinching to seal the seam well is the basic goal.

COOKING 5 Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium– high heat. Working in 3 batches, add the dumplings and arrange in a single layer; cook until the bottoms start to brown, about 30 seconds. Add 2/3 cup water, cover and cook 3 minutes. Uncover and cook until the liquid evaporates and the bottoms are crispy and golden brown, about 2 more minutes. Loosen the dumplings from the pan with a spatula and transfer to a serving plate. Serve immediately, crispy bottoms facing upwards.

280g chicken mince 1 tbsp crushed ginger 1 cup onion, chopped 1½ tbsp soy sauce 1 tbsp oyster sauce 1 tbsp vegetable oil

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1 tbsp sesame oil DUMPLING PASTRY 1 pack of dumpling pastry from Chinese grocery shop (40pcs)

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{ Chinese {

Steamed Fish w

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Pure MANLY VALE NEW SOUTH WALES

SERVES 4 PREPARATION 20 minutes COOLING TIME 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

1

2

½–1kg whole white fish (barramundi, baby red snapper, coral trout, silver bream) 2 tbsp Shaoxing rice wine 2 tbsp light soy 1 tbsp ginger, chopped finely 1 tsp sesame oil 3 tbsp peanut or vegetable oil 2–3 spring onions, shredded diagonally 3 tbsp ginger, shredded as finely as possible (like hair)

METHOD 1 Place fish on a large plate and slit three times (at 3cm intervals) to the bone on both sides of fish. Spoon over mixture of rice wine, soy, chopped ginger and sesame, massage gently over entire fish. Marinate in fridge for ten minutes. 2 Place fish on a plate. Balance plate on a metal trivet in a wok and steam covered over simmering water for five to eight minutes. To test if fish is cooked, insert a small sharp knife into the thickest part of the flesh and part gently. If the flesh is not pink and translucent, it is cooked. Remove from heat and set aside.

3

3 Heat peanut oil in a hot wok till smoking. Sprinkle fish with spring onions and shredded ginger then slowly pour hot oil over fish to crisp the skin up and scald the aromatics.

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Tara-louise TaRa-Louise and BrendAn BrendAN SUMMERHOLM QUeensLAND


f

oster carers Tara-Louise and Brendan have always wanted to have a large family with lots of children running around.

“I remember as a child wanting to grow up and own an orphanage. I wanted to have hundreds of adopted children around me, but obviously that’s not possible,” she laughs. Making a meaningful contribution to the community was a major driver in the couple’s decision to foster. They recognised the need to provide a safe family environment to children less fortunate than their own. “I really wanted to help people and to give back to the community. I wanted to give someone an opportunity at a life that they otherwise wouldn’t have. That was the biggest motivation,” Tara-Louise says. Her decision to become a carer came as no surprise to family and friends who have supported her through this new chapter in life.

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01 Tara-Louise making sure the goats are well fed

“Our friends and family have been wonderful. They’re very supportive and understand we’re trying to make a difference in the community. The foster kids are part of the family now. They’ve fitted in really well with everyone,” Tara-Louise explains.

02 Tara-Louise loves vintage style cowboy boots

Tara-Louise believes that the most important part of her role is to allow the children to enjoy their childhood and have fun along the way. She believes she is helping to build a better community by protecting children and helping them to achieve. “In a lot of ways it’s like being a parent,” she explains. “We have more challenges because they’re obviously not our biological children, but we love them like they are.”

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Tara-Louise and Brendan SUMMERHOLM QUEENSLAND

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I really wanted to help people and to give back to the community.

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Becoming a foster carer can be an emotional journey. Carers are often faced with challenging transitions as the child settles into the new home. Tara-Louise accredits the support of her network at Key Assets to her success in managing the emotional side of the role.

“I really believe we achieve more for these children by working together. As a carer with Key Assets, I’m always treated with respect and my opinion and experience is valued. I know I can be completely open and honest with them and together we share ideas to find solutions to the challenges.”

“There is a wonderful community of carers at Key Assets. We support each other and share stories about how far the kids have come. Things like the big tantrums that they used to throw, are replaced with hugs and kisses instead. That feeling of community and sharing knowledge is fantastic for your experience as a carer,” she says.

She continues, “We've made close friends with a couple of carers at our initial training and we always keep in touch. I probably see them every couple of months, but we talk a lot on the phone.” As an experienced foster carer Tara-Louise offers sage advice to new carers. She strongly recommends utilising the networks and assistance offered by Key Assets, just as she has done, and believes that support is the key to success.


01 Tara-Louise and Brendan share a laugh 02 Tara-Louise enjoys a cuddle with Fred the dog 03 The children's collection of toys 04 Beetle mania 05 Brendan's model boat

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“You have to communicate how you are feeling. You can’t bottle things up, talking things through with your support workers is the biggest help imaginable to a new carer,” she advises. Tara-Louise and Brendan continue to develop their skills as foster carers with enthusiasm and a commitment to continuous improvement. Through their foster care work they are making a positive and lasting difference in the community.

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Easy Cheese and chive scones # 62

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Tara-Louise and Brendan SUMMERHOLM QUEENSLAND

SERVES 4–6 PREPARATION 10 minutes COOKING TIME 10–15 minutes

INGREDIENTS 1 cup thickened cream (yoghurt, sour cream, milk; all work well) 1 cup soda water 3 cups self raising flour

METHOD Pre heat oven 210°C. 1 Sift flour in large bowl. 2 Mix in cream, soda water, cheese and chives. 3 Turn onto floured surface and knead well. 4 Roll out lightly until about an inch thick. 5 Cut into rounds with cutter. 6 Arrange on tray lined with baking paper. Beat egg and brush the top of scone with it. Place in oven and bake 10–15 mins. Cool on wire rack.

/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (I use normal cheese most of the time)

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¼ cup chopped chives 1 egg

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BANANA and BERRy Bliss )

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B)


Tara-Louise and Brendan SUMMERHOLM QUEENSLAND

SERVES 2 PREPARATION 10 minutes

INGREDIENTS 3 frozen bananas 1 cup frozen berries 2 tbsp cocoa powder (optional)

METHOD

1

Blend in a blender until smooth. Place mixture into piping bag and pipe into serving dish. 1 2

HINT Mix it up a bit. Replace the berries with peanut butter, mango, ¼ cup cream, ¼ cup coconut cream, or anything else you might have in the fridge/freezer. Have fun and get creative.

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UVONNE and DAVID BANNOCKBURN QUeensLAND


u U

vonne and David provide weekend and emergency respite care to foster children. Despite having full time careers in the Air Force, they devote every weekend to help children in need.

This commitment is a reflection of their ambition to provide a sense of belonging and security to the children that visit them for respite. Uvonne has travelled extensively through her ten years service in the Air Force. During that time she was exposed to poverty and neglect, which has fuelled her passion to work with children. “I saw a lot of displaced kids and a lot of neglect. I have found that children are the same all over the world. They want the same things, the shiny new toy and to be loved,” she says. Foster caring in particular appealed to the couple as it met their desire to protect children whilst allowing them to have their voices heard. “As a foster carer, I get to be part of the solution. It’s a cliché, but if I make a difference in just one child’s life then I’ve done a good job,” says Uvonne. Testament to the couple’s commitment to making a positive and lasting difference to the lives of the children they work with is their ability to manage full time work and respite care. Their flexibility and determination has been unwavering in the challenges such a busy schedule brings. “The most challenging aspect for us has been organising how respite would work with our full time jobs. Luckily our work has been supportive and provided us flexibility. Ultimately, if you have a passion to help these children, you can make it work no matter what,” says Uvonne.

1

Like many carers, they believe their training and research prepared them for the path ahead and has given them solid strategies for providing quality care. As David explains, “We knew that there was going to be some problems, but once we started training and going through scenarios, we started to feel more prepared. I think as respite carers, we don’t get as much of the extreme behaviours. We tend to get the honeymoon period,” he laughs. “A lot of these children have just had hard upbringings. Even though we are only doing respite, we want to give these children a break from whatever hell they are going through and help them realise their potential. If we can just give them one day where they’re happy, then it’s all worthwhile.” Uvonne continues, “We see a lot of truly loved kids come for respite. One young boy came to us and couldn’t speak. The information provided by the carer was brilliant, they provided so much detail and his bag was packed with all the clothing that he liked to wear. It just makes you think, these people deeply care for this child.”

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01 Crochet picture in Uvonne and David's home 02 David loves to play his guitar

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Uvonne AND DAVID BANNOCKBURN QUEENSLAND

With lots of different children coming for respite care, the couple try to make each child feel important and secure by memorising their important details. This helps the child develop a sense of belonging and security. As Uvonne explains, “You’ve got to know the names of their parents, siblings and carers off the top of your head. Otherwise, if you don’t know, that can make the child feel very unwelcome.” For Uvonne and David becoming respite carers has been a joyful experience, and there have been plenty of laughs along the way. “I remember taking one child who was under five to a soccer match and trying to be really prepared. I had planned everything including a change of clothes, underwear, medication, drinks, even a chair. I planned everything to ensure a calm trip. I got to the soccer field and realised – I didn’t bring a ball!” Uvonne laughs. “Luckily one of the parents just knew straight away. He looked at my face and he realised I was in real trouble. I didn’t say anything, he just came running over with a big bag of balls.” For Uvonne, she is happy as long as she can make the children feel welcome and safe for the short time that they are in her care. She will often try to make the children’s favourite meals from home to help them feel comfortable. “When I make dinner, I always find that chicken is a winner because you can grill it, fry it, cube it, mince it, anything. Chicken is the winner,” Uvonne laughs. “With one of the young chaps, we knew straight away what he liked, so I cooked the meal exactly as his family had to make him feel as welcome as possible.” With such a loving approach to caring, Uvonne and David are making a positive change in the lives of the children they care for. Their passion and devotion to balancing caring with full time careers may be tricky at times, but for Uvonne and David it is certainly worthwhile.

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We see a lot of truly loved kids come for respite.


01 Uvonne relaxing in the garden 02 The family motto hangs on the wall 03 School bags ready to go 04 The family loves to play scrabble 05 David 06 David's Air Force medals

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warm Warm Chicken Salad 0

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Uvonne AND DAVID BANNOCKBURN QUEENSLAND

SERVES 6 PREPARATION 25 minutes COOKING TIME 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS 400g of chicken breast 100g of bacon 50g of pine nuts 25g of feta 2 shallots ½ red onion ¾ of a capsicum or to taste ½ punnet of cherry tomatoes 275g bag of spinach leaves, iceberg lettuce, red cabbage or in season green leafy salad mix 1 tbsp of oyster sauce 1 lemon ½ lime

METHOD 2

DRESSING Lime juice mixed with oyster source.

1

Lemon zest for seasoning. SALAD 1 Dice shallots, red onion, capsicum and cherry tomatoes. 2 Grill chicken, sauté bacon and pine nuts together, remove from heat and let rest. 3 Combine in large salad bowl diced red onion, capsicum, shallots, spinach leaves, leafy salad mix and cherry tomatoes. Grate lemon zest over salad and combine chicken, bacon, pine nuts, feta and dressing.

Serve immediately.

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Chicken Stir fry

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Uvonne AND DAVID BANNOCKBURN QUEENSLAND

SERVES 4 PREPARATION 25 minutes COOKING TIME 15 minutes

INGREDIENTS 2½ tsp peanut oil Chilli to taste 1 tsp garlic 20g grated ginger 1 bunch of shallots 1 medium red onion 2 tbsp soy sauce ½ tbsp oyster sauce 4–6 baby carrots 75g snow peas /3 of each red, green and yellow capsicum for colour or one full capsicum

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2

1

2 bunches of broccoli ½ a full red cabbage 400g of chicken (or beef/tofu)

METHOD 1 Slice shallots, red onion, baby carrots, snow peas, capsicum, red cabbage and broccoli into thin strips. 2 Fry in well heated wok; peanut oil, chilli, garlic and ginger until you can smell the combined ingredients (approximately 2 minutes). 3 Add in chicken until cooked. Add in small amounts of the sliced shallots, red onion, carrots and capsicum to wok, coating with combined ingredients.

Serve immediately.

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SAM and ADRIAN NARANGABA QUeensLAND


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am and husband Adrian have five children, most of whom have grown up and moved out of the family home. Their biological son, Tom has autism and since his diagnosis, Sam has immersed herself in researching and gaining knowledge on the condition to enable her to provide the best care to her child.

She explains that prior to her first placement, she was very keen to let Key Assets know that she was interested in and knowledgeable on the subject of autism. As Sam explains, “It’s important to be there for these children and to put their needs first. They need to understand that they are important and that they have value. As a carer it’s important to really take responsibility for your actions and how they affect the child.” As Sam explains, “Fetu is our first placement and we’ve had him just over a year. Before Fetu came to us, I had a call from the office about a different child and I said I would take them, only to later find out the department had sent Key Assets information on the wrong child. The Key Assets worker said to the department ‘It’s such a shame because Sam is an autistic expert’ and the man said ‘Funny you should say that, we have another little boy who is very autistic and we can’t place him’. That was Fetu.”

Sam instantly made the decision to take on Fetu, as she truly believed that her diverse skill set would help him to adjust and develop over time. This strengths based approach is vital to provide the child with the most appropriate carer with skills specific to their needs. For Sam, it means she can work to her strengths as a caregiver, highly experienced in working with autism. “I’ve seen my own son Tom, change from a child who could not cope with life because of autism into a respectful, courteous, sensitive and compassionate boy within a space of ten years. I knew that I helped him do that and I knew that I could do it again,” she explains. For Sam, the most challenging and rewarding experiences of fostering are very much intertwined. “Fetu lived in his own world. He screamed, he cried, he threw himself on the floor at every minute of every day. He couldn’t eat properly. The first time we gave him ice cream, he picked it up with his hands. He didn’t know how to speak and he was five years old, in nappies,” Sam recalls. A Taste of Fostering

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Sam AND AdriAN NARANGABA QUEENSLAND

It’s important to be there for these children and to put their needs first.

1

“He couldn’t communicate, so I had to constantly be analysing his behaviour. He was also a binge eater, which is of course very risky behaviour that we had to manage in a safe way. When he first arrived, I waited four hours to leave him alone in a room so I could pop out to the bathroom and in the two minutes it took me to return, he ate two kilos of grapes from the fridge.” Sam says that the rewards of caring for Fetu are simply too many to count. There are of course the monumental landmarks carers often go through, like the first hug or being called Mum, but for Sam, the most rewarding moments are when she sees Fetu blossom and develop his interpersonal skills.

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“It’s great watching him actually play with other kids. He will now sit and look at a book instead of just ripping it up and destroying it,” she explains.

“He was absolutely terrified. The sea really frightened him, to the point where he would still be in the car and start screaming and crying.”

Sam continues, “I remember the day Fetu had written his name on the couch and pointed to it and you could tell he understood. I said ‘Well done, but don’t do it on the sofa.’ We all celebrated and went crazy, it was this really emotional moment. It meant that not only could he write his name, he knew it was his name,” says Sam.

She continues, “We took a tennis ball and started to throw it in the sea, and even though he would be screaming and crying, the tennis ball would obviously come back to us. We had to do that for a good five months before he would even stand in the water inch deep. For the past four months or so, he runs straight to the sea! He goes in the waves, and he has a whale of a time and there’s no looking back,” she laughs.

Sam has numerous stories about Fetu’s triumphs, but she’ll never forget when he conquered his innate fear of the sea.

Sam takes exceptional pride in her work and is always quick to celebrate the smallest of successes. Sam believes that this is the key to supporting children to help them achieve more.


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PROGRESS pROGRESS 01 Molly the dog 02 The family crockery 03 Sam and Adrian relax on the couch 04 A framed poem hangs on Sam and Adrian's wall showing the importance of a Mum 4

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0

Waffle Berry Pudding ) )

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Sam AND AdriAN NARANGABA QUEENSLAND

SERVES 6–8 PREPARATION 15 minutes COOKING TIME 35–40 minutes

INGREDIENTS 2

2 packets of waffles 150g of Nestle Milkybar white chocolate 300g raspberries 55g white sugar 1 tbsp of plain flour 2

500ml sour cream 3 eggs ½ tsp vanilla extract

METHOD

2

1 Preheat oven to 200°C. Coarsely chop waffles and chocolate. 2 Grease pie dish with butter and layer the dish with waffles, raspberries and choc then repeat layers. 3 In another bowl combine caster sugar, flour, soured cream eggs and vanilla. Pour over layered waffles and press down to absorb. 4 Bake for 35–40 mins until golden. 5 Remove from oven and allow to sit for 10 mins.

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J

L

L

Self saucing Saucing J festive Festive J Pudding J

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A Taste of Fostering


Sam AND AdriAN NARANGABA QUEENSLAND

"I made up this recipe because nobody in our house likes the rich fruity Christmas desserts. It has all the flavours of Christmas with a luscious caramel sauce. I have been making this dessert for a very long time." – Sam SERVES 6 PREPARATION 15 minutes COOKING TIME 35–40 minutes

INGREDIENTS 1 cup butter 1 cup caster sugar 1 cup self raising flour 1 tsp baking powder

4

1 tsp nutmeg powder 1 tsp ginger powder ½ tsp cinnamon ¼ tsp cloves ¼ cup dark brown sugar 2 eggs ¼ tsp salt Butter for greasing

METHOD

2

5

6

6

1 Boil 500ml of water and weigh out brown sugar. 2 Preheat oven to 170°C. Grease a deep pie dish generously with butter. 3 In a large bowl mix butter and sugar till creamy. 4 Add eggs and mix well. 5 Add spices, flour, baking powder and salt. Mix quickly and pour into pie dish. 6 Sprinkle dark brown sugar over the cake batter and pour boiling water over the back of a metal spoon over the cake batter. 7 Bake for 35–40 mins. Serve warm with double cream or vanilla ice cream.

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Jules Allen TORQUAY VICTORIA


ules has fostered 32 children over the past 15 years. In 2013, prompted by a dare from her kids, Jules found herself as a contestant on MasterChef Australia where she put her new profile to good use by emphasising the healing power of good food in raising wellbalanced children.

“Over the many years of fostering children, I have come to understand that food is one of the greatest healing tools. It consistently provides a sense of comfort and security for these young ones that they may not have known. It is flawless!” Jules, who has a child of her own, shares why she decided to become a foster carer. “There is no greater gift you can give your child than the gift of empathy, tolerance and compassion. What greater way to do it than by exposing them to difference and the hardship experienced by others in their peer set.”

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Jules Allen TORQUAY VICTORIA

“I’m going to tread a little carefully here as I don’t, for one second, want to mislead people by saying that this is a walk in the park. It’s not easy.” “The children who come in to your care are scared and have experienced trauma.” “Your children may struggle to know how to accommodate their needs and where to position themselves. What I have, invariably, found happens is that the family, as a whole, comes together to play their various roles in the healing of the child. More often than not, your child adopts a level of responsibility in this. They become the leader in their space and the one with the greater influence in the home.” “My family is made-up of four children, my own, adopted and foster children.

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A Taste of Fostering

They are all incredibly close and over the years the pecking order has moved and changed from time to time.” “I have watched my biological son grow into a young man who has an incredible depth of understanding in regards to the needs of others.” “He has, without a doubt, struggled at times to adapt to the personalities and changes in the house.” “I think he would be first to agree, however, that the benefits far outweigh the negatives. He has siblings he adores and they adore him. They depend on one another and have a bond that can only be found when one has to strive for a relationship to work.”

“I understand that there are many people out there that would not fit the mould of foster carers and I respect that.” “The ones I am appealing to are those who have a sense that this may be something that could work for them. If you have the space, the love, the compassion and are in a position to help a child in need, please contact Key Assets, or at the very least, explore whether this will work for you.” “I can honestly say that the fabric of my life is so colourful and rich for having been a carer and will be until the day I die.”


THERE IS NO GREATER GIFT YOU CAN GIVE YOUR CHILD THAN THE GIFT OF EMPATHY, TOLERANCE AND COMPASSION

COMFORT

A Taste of Fostering

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Tom Ka Gai

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A Taste of Fostering


SERVES 5 PREPARATION 10 minutes

Jules Allen TORQUAY VICTORIA

COOKING TIME 25 minutes

“This may seem like a strange family favourite but I have asked the many children who have come through the doors what they miss most and this dish is always the first thing they say. It’s just like love and home in a bowl!”

INGREDIENTS 500g chicken thigh fillets 2 cups of Asian greens and broccoli ½ cup sliced mushrooms (optional) 5 cm chunk of ginger, sliced 1 stalk lemongrass, bashed and chopped in to 3-4 pieces 1 bunch coriander, roots on. 6 kaffir lime leaves 1 long red, mild chilli (remove seeds and vein and slice thinly).

2

1 tin coconut milk 500ml chicken stock 2 tbsp fish sauce 1 tbsp brown sugar 1 fresh lime (juice) 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil Steamed rice

1

METHOD

Chop the chicken into approx 2cm chunks. 1 Heat oil in large pot and fry off chicken until brown. Add stock and reduce to simmer. 2 Add ginger, lemongrass, coriander roots, chilli and kaffir lime leaves. Simmer for 15 minutes. 3 Add vegetables, coconut milk, lime juice, brown sugar and fish sauce and simmer for 5-10 minutes. 4 Serve with rice and garnish with coriander leaves. Rice helps to fill bellies better!

3

4

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CHOCOLATE CHUNK POPPING CANDY COOKIES

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A Taste of Fostering


Jules Allen TORQUAY VICTORIA

MAKES 12 PREPARATION 10 minutes COOKING TIME 15 minutes “As a busy Mum I am all for simple, great recipes that use few ingredients but still taste great. Your kids will absolutely love these and, as far as I know, they are a world’s first!”

1

INGREDIENTS 125g butter 125g sugar 250g self-raising flour 1 egg 200g milk, popping candy chocolate broken into chunks 1 packet of Smarties 1 packet popping candy

METHOD

1 Melt butter and sugar together, allow to cool. 2 Add self-raising flour, egg and chocolate chunks. Mix well. 3 Roll into balls and place onto baking tray 3-5 centimetres apart. 4 Bake at 180C for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown on top. 2

3

4

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Watch them grow

As a foster carer, you can help to create memories that will last a lifetime. We are looking to recruit more foster carers to make a real difference to the lives of children and young people. If you have a spare bedroom and are committed to making a difference, we'd love to talk to you. YOU MAY LIKE TO KNOW THAT We're available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to ensure that you get the support and advice you need, when you need it. You’ll receive regular visits and contact from a dedicated and qualified social worker. We provide on-going training and development for our foster carers. Training is a vital part of our package of support. We provide carers with training before they are approved and throughout their fostering journey. We offer a competitive financial package that recognises your skills and commitment as a foster carer. We have a local team of social workers, therapists and support workers to help you, your family and the child or young person that you care for. GET IN TOUCH WITH US NOW TO START A JOURNEY You’ll NEVER FORGET

Visit www.keyassets.com.au Or call 1800 WE CARE (1800 932 273) Key Assets Australia is part of Core Assets – The Children's Services Group

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A Taste of Fostering


Key Assets – the Children’s Services Provider, part of the Core Assets Group (CAG), has a combined experience of over 20 years of delivering services to children and young people from diverse backgrounds. The success of our approach is a belief that all children and young people deserve the best opportunity to achieve their full potential and those caring for them need to be supported and valued to do this. This book showcases the partnership between carers and Key Assets and demonstrates how, when a community wraps itself around children, that they can thrive and achieve amazing things.

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A taste T Fostering

A taste of fostering began as a project with Key Assets Australia which aimed to highlight the very special role foster carers play in the lives of children in out of home care in Australia. It brings together the stories of 9 diverse carers and their families, who have shared their recipes for their favourite meals, as well as for fostering.

A book by Key Assets AustrAliA

ISBN 9780646942285

9 780646 942285

Key Assets - A Taste Of Fostering  

A taste of fostering is a project from Key Assets which aims to highlight the very special role foster carers play in the lives of children...

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