By Chelsea McNeill
A not-for-profit organisation is providing emergency packs to children entering foster care all over WA.
Care Bags – Because Children in Care Matter was founded in July 2018 by Sarah Clancy and to date, has made 2,700 emergency packs.
There’s a minimum requirement for the emergency packs – two pairs of socks, two pairs of underwear, two sets of clothes, a soft toy, pyjamas, toothbrush and toothpaste, a hairbrush as well as an activity to keep the child occupied.
Members of the community can put together a complete care bag or donate items to help create one.
Clancy says the care bags not only provide children with something that belongs to them, they also give carers breathing time.
“The carers aren’t having to take the children to Kmart to buy pyjamas for them to wear that night or clothes for the following day,” she says.
With at least 1,000 children going into foster care every year in WA, Care Bags aims to get an emergency pack to all of them.
Clancy says it’s common for children in foster care to think no one cares about them, so when they receive an emergency pack it increases their sense of value.
“It’s not just about giving them some clothes, it’s about the meaning behind those clothes and the impact on their self-worth and self-esteem.”
Care Bags has received lots of community support, with schools, Girl Guides and Scouts getting behind the initiative.
Storage King in Joondalup has even donated a storage unit to the cause.
“The organisation relies on people donating time and thinking outside the box,” says Matthew Haines, committee member of Care Bags.
“[People should] think about how lucky they are and open their eyes to the less fortunate people out there because it can have a huge impact,” he says.