In this week’s episode, Geoff is talking to Heather Baird who was a Winner in the 2020 Victorian Regional Achievement & Community Awards.
My name is Heather Baird, and I founded A Better Life for Foster Kids in 2014. I would like to tell you the story of why I went down the path of helping foster children. From the age of 2 ½, I lived in orphanages and many different foster homes. Once l left the homes at the age of 17, it was a real struggle to fit into the world. I knew almost nothing of the outside, normal world, and the easiest way to cope with my life to this stage was to live in denial. How I wished someone had taken the time to explain to me how life worked! I had not even seen a supermarket until then, so entering the world as an adult was extremely difficult. I always wanted to help other children in similar situations, and at the age of 56 l finally had the chance at making my dream come true. In 2013, l completed a Diploma of Social Services at Gippsland TAFE, with the intention of working in the child welfare system. However, while doing a lengthy placement at DHHS as part of my studies, l realised l could do more good advocating for foster children from outside the formal child protection system, and that is what brought this charity to life.
We are launching our new fundraiser May 1st and also a sister charity.
In this episode:
- We hear how Heather left the orphanage when she was 18, having never seen a supermarket or realising that you needed to have a job to pay for food or electricity
- Heather gives us some shocking facts that 1 in 4 foster kids who are not with their foster parents are by the age of 21, will be drug/alcohol abusers, in the justice system or dead.
- There are now 15 Better Life for Foster Kids depots in Victoria and 1,500 crisis cases are given to DHHS each year, creating a huge impact to foster kids.
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Transcript (available in one week)