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Brophy Kinship Carer Nicole Walker and Brophy Kinship Care Practitioner Katie Van Rooy

Kinship Carer’s “rewarding” experience

Brophy Kinship Care Nicole Walker “wouldn’t change (her role) for the world” and describes it as “so rewarding”.

Nicole and her husband have cared for Montana, a nine-year-old girl, since she was three months old.

“She’s been reunified with her biological dad three times and has come back to us three times,” Nicole said.

“She’s been with us four years now. It’s very, very rewarding and very, very challenging.”

Nicole said working with the Brophy Kinship Care team meant both parties could work together to “make sure Montana’s needs are met”.

“She’s got a lot of medical needs and Katie (Van Rooy) works as a bit of a go-between with doctors and other professionals,” she said.

“I think the communication between us and the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing is really vital (that Brophy facilitates).

“Katie knows us, she knows Montana well, she knows all the dynamics so the communication between us and the department is really good.”

Brophy Kinship Care Practitioner Katie Van Rooy sai about 77 per cent of the region’s out-of-home care placements classified as kinship care.

“Kinship carers aren’t trained, they haven’t been certified and haven’t gone through accreditation,” she said.

“They’re people like you and I who do whatever they can to keep kids out of the system and raise children who often have major trauma impacts on their life which is difficult for both the child and carers.

“It’s really hard to get the stats on the number of carers because a lot of them don’t actually know they’re kinship carers. So we’re raising awareness of that and that there is support available.”