"What would it mean to have a child or young person come into your home?"
Residents of the Oberon area are being asked to answer this question as the need for more foster carers in the Central West balloons.
With just 1,023 current authorised foster carers in the Western area and a need for 400 each year state-wide, the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) have issued a call-out.
With a high-priority of keeping children in their communities, the DCJ have launched geo-targeted ads in the hopes someone in the area will consider homing a local child.
"The reality is there are children and young people who need the stability of a foster carer. They need to know there are people in their life who are going to be in their corner, and they need to know they're cared for," Department of Communities and Justice Western client services manager, Rick Winters said.
"We're hoping we can keep children in their communities, Aboriginal children on country, and make sure kids remain in the community where they've got their school and friends and are close to family.
"People may have seen a number of ads with identified children listed on there. Those ads are geo-targeted, they've been put out in those areas for that exact reason - that we can keep these kids in local communities as opposed to moving them to somewhere they don't know.
We really want to wrap the community around these children and provide that support.- Department of Communities and Justice Western client services manager, Rick Winters
Mr Winters said the DCJ "know for a fact" people often spend a significant amount of time weighing up the potential of becoming a foster carer.
According to the DCJ, the majority of carers (29 per cent) are between 51 and 60-years-old, while 62 per cent of total authorised carers are female.
Mr Winters reiterated that each Oberon region foster carer would receive support from the DCJ should they choose to offer a home to a fellow local in need.
"Carers are desperately needed in our area so we've put a call-out to the people in the Oberon community," Mr Winters said.
"We're looking for people from all walks of life. You might be married, single, working, semi-retired, rent or own your home and are looking to provide support or you've got interest in becoming a foster carer.
"DCJ absolutely values carers, they're an amazing network of people. Carers receive training and support, an allowance to cover day to day costs, there's also financial support available to help carers with education, medical and other daily living.
"We need caring and passionate people to put their hands up to make a difference in kid's lives."
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