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A family who have helped more than 2000 foster care children


By Genevieve Waldie

In an ideal world, every child is tucked safely into their bed every night with clean pyjamas and goodnight wishes.

Sadly, this is not the case for many kids across Australia every night, with numbers of children requiring alternative emergency care rising during COVID-19.

Willing to change this unfortunate situation, a Brisbane mum and her daughter decided to do what they could to help kids feel a bit special in their new emergency or foster care arrangements.

Vicki and Melissa Hanning have collected care packs to donate to Queensland’s foster care services.

The care pack contains new pyjamas, and a new set of clothes, a new toothbrush, toothpaste, hairbrush, a book to read and a soft toy to cuddle, and are donated to foster care agencies all over Queensland.

Vickie Hanning and her daughter Melissa started the initiative last year, providing more than 2000 care packs to children in foster care all across Queensland.

“I knew there was a need out there…when children enter foster care quite often, they do so at short notice and under fairly traumatic circumstances. We knew it would be important for them to have a bag that has those items in there for them, for their first night in foster care,” explains Melissa.

“When COVID-19 hit, we quite understood that people in the community were under stress and under financial pressure and that we probably wouldn’t get as many care bags. We were just so surprised and thankful to get over 900 care bags over a period of a few weeks.”

Shane King, the Queensland state member for Kurwongbah, announced the care appeal in the state parliament in July this year calling for its support.

“Care bags are put together for children entering foster care who sadly sometimes leave home with nothing but the clothes on their backs….thanks to Sweet Dreams and Goodnight Wishes for the work they do on this appeal all year round…”

“The kids in foster care have a little bit of a rough trot, and when they come into care, it’s great for them to have a backpack, so they have ownership of something straight away. Some things make kids feel like they’re at home,” Tiffany Berg from Anglicare Southern Queensland said.

“It brings the kids a little bit of excitement in a time that can be sad for them.”

To find out how you can get involved, head to their Facebook page at Sweet Dreams and Goodnight wishes.

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