Local foster carers in the spotlight

Foster carer Joanne Remeika has been a foster carer for 12 years. Photo: Breeanna Tirant.
Foster carer Joanne Remeika has been a foster carer for 12 years. Photo: Breeanna Tirant.

Foster carer Joanne Remeika has been a foster carer for 12 years, with her husband Steven. 

"We always wanted to do it, but we waited because we didn't want to sacrifice our time with our kids," she said.

Mrs Remeika originally started caring for teenagers through Life Without Barriers before moving to care for children with the Department of Communities.

"We were getting a lot of the teenagers and a lot of them have already made their choices," she said. 

"We were with DCP for two years before getting our two girls who are now legally ours.

"Then two years ago we got their brothers."

We were with DCP for two years before getting our two girls who are now legally ours.

Foster carer Joanne Remeika

She said they were only asked to foster the boys temporarily.

"Then it lingered on for so long that we just decided they had enough breaks and fractures in their family so we fought for the boys. We were lucky they stayed with us and now they're all together," she said.

Mrs Remeika said the girls have previously travelled to England, Japan, Singapore, America, Paris, and to other states in Australia.

The whole family is also heading on a holiday to Tasmania this coming April. 

Then it lingered on for so long that we just decided they had enough breaks and fractures in their family so we fought for the boys. We were lucky they stayed with us and now they're all together.

Foster carer Joanne Remeika

She said she would encourage other people to foster care children if that was something they wanted to do. 

"It is demanding. They are demanding. Every child is different and they all have their challenges, but they keep me going," she said. 

"A lot of these kids are broken and you have to put them back together. The issues that come with them are so hard and time consuming, but it is so rewarding getting that first thank you, or that first bit of empathy.

There is so many children out there that need that love, structure, somewhere to call home, to be educated, to have structure, to be taught life values, and to be valued."

Foster carer Joanne Remeika said she would encourage other people to foster care children if that was something they wanted to do. Photo: Breeanna Tirant.

Foster carer Joanne Remeika said she would encourage other people to foster care children if that was something they wanted to do. Photo: Breeanna Tirant.

She said her and her husband still occasionally see the children they previously looked after and have been invited to one of their weddings in England later this year. 

A lot of these kids are broken and you have to put them back together. The issues that come with them are so hard and time consuming, but it is so rewarding getting that first thank you, or that first bit of empathy.

Foster carer Joanne Remeika

The Collie office currently has 35 children in care, with 17 of those living in Collie or surrounding suburbs. 

In 2017, the Department of Communities and Child Protection Services, together with the Foster Care Association of WA and a number of non-government agencies, developed the inaugural WA Foster Carers Week.

The week takes place from March 12 - 18 each year and acknowledges the good work they do and to help raise awareness of the need for more foster carers. 

An invitation only event is being held in Collie today to recognise the foster carers in our community 

Department of Communities and Child Protection Services department team leader Maria Barry said the week was important to acknowledge the foster carers.

We are looking for general carers who can care for children on an emergency, long-term or rest-bite basis. We certainly need more carers in Collie.

Department of Communities and Child Protection Services department team leader Maria Barry

"They're part of the care team for the child so all the important people in that child's life wrap around that child to give them the best possible outcomes," she said. 

"Those carers are an essential part of that team to keeping that child safe and healing them from past trauma.

"We are looking for general carers who can care for children on an emergency, long-term or restpite basis. We certainly need more carers in Collie."