Community

See what’s happening in our community! Meet some of our Foundation Family and look at how we can support those around us!

Every donation matched for 24 hours

 

Across Australia, more than 30,000 children living in foster care won’t graduate from high school. The effect of bouncing from home to home often results in failure to reach literacy and numeracy benchmarks.

For over 15 years The Pyjama Foundation has been actively working to change this. By recruiting and training committed community volunteers the Foundation can help children in care thrive.

Today is International Giving Tuesday. To celebrate, Direct Connect Australia and Prism Surgical will match every donation made to The Pyjama Foundation for 24 hours. Therefore, this will double the already incredible impact a donation makes to ensuring more children can be supported in 2020.

Foundation CEO and executive director, Bronwyn Sheehan, is blown away by the support for the Christmas Campaign.

“We are always amazed by the support received at Christmas, but this year has been made extra special with the opportunity to match all donations for one day only,” she said.

“This is a chance for the community to make an even bigger impact with their donation, and to help us change the direction of a child’s life.”

It costs $800 to train every new Pyjama Angel. By raising $40,000 in donations for the 2019 Christmas Campaign, The Pyjama Foundation will be able to train 50 Pyjama Angel’s and, above all, support more children in foster care.

 

HOW TO DONATE

Head to our Christmas Appeal to make a donation which will be instantly matched* and have double the impact on a child who deserves it most this Christmas.

*Up to the value of $10,000. Donations made on 3 December for 24 hours only.

Meet Kimberly Ngo – New Sydney Team Member

 

 

We sat down with our new Sydney Events and Placement Support team member, Kim Ngo, to find out why she chose to join The Pyjama Foundation’s team (family), and to know what drives her, and other fun little tidbits!

Why did you apply for the role of ‘Events and Placement Support’?

I had been working in Advertising for many years and wanted so desperately for a change to do something more fulfilling. I had also trained to be a Pyjama Angel last year so I was already in love with the organisation and what it stood for. So naturally, when this opportunity came up, I jumped at it.

 What do you love most about your job (so far)?

That it’s meaningful and I feel like I can contribute to something worthwhile. I’ve also only been here for a short period of time, but everyone I have met has been extremely positive and welcoming. I feel like I’m surrounded by genuinely nice people.

What challenges are you currently facing? (And how are you working to overcome them)

Probably just wrapping my head around the role and industry. Also to not get teary and cry at literally every story I come across!

 What are your goals for the Sydney region/ branch of The Pyjama Foundation?

To recruit as many volunteers as I can and as such, place as many children as I can.

 What are you passionate about? / What drives you?

To create social change and to help others. To make my family (and myself) proud about what I do and accomplish.

 What do you like to do in your spare time?

I love food, so I’m often either cooking or eating – there’s also nothing better than a big glass at the end of the week. My cheeky four year old nephew is also my favourite person, so I like to spend time with him too.

 What are your favourite places to visit in Sydney?

My parents’ home for my mum’s cooking! Or around Newtown and Surry Hills for some good food and cute bars. You’ll notice there’s a bit of a theme here with food…

 What’s your favourite quote?

While there’s life, there’s hope.

 What’s a fun fact about you that you’d like to share?

I’m obsessed with horror films and have probably seen most that are made from the last two decades.

 What’s your favourite children’s book?

Does Harry Potter count?

Brisbane black tie gala enhances the lives of children in foster care

TUXEDO’S and ball gowns will be flocking to QUT’s Room Three Sixty on October 12 with one very important mission at front of mind.

The Pyjama Foundation’s annual Big Dreams Gala Ball raises crucial funds to support its Love of Learning Program, providing a learning mentor to vulnerable children in the out-of-home care system.

This year is extra special for the Foundation as it celebrates 15 years of changing the direction of children’s lives.

Queensland Minister for Child Safety Di Farmer congratulated The Pyjama Foundation on its 15th birthday.

“There is nothing more important to help kids learn to read and write than reading to them, and I cannot overstate the value of the work that The Pyjama Foundation does together with their volunteers to make sure kids in care get that same great start in life,” Ms Farmer said.

“To everyone associated with The Pyjama Foundation during the past 15 years – founder Brownyn Sheehan, staff, and their army of Pyjama Angels – thank you for being important adults in children’s lives.

“You have made, and continue to make such a difference in thousands of children’s lives.”

Ms Farmer encouraged Queensland’s corporate community to support the Pyjama Foundation’s Big Dreams Gala Ball next month.

“Attending the Gala Ball is an easy way to assist this wonderful organisation to recruit, screen, train and support more volunteers to help more children build their life skills and confidence so they can take on the world,” she said.

Many businesses across Queensland have already pledged their support for the evening donating incredible prizes to help the Foundation raise vital funds to continue its important work in the community.

Prizes include accommodation in Australia and internationally, experiences such as paint and sip and mini golf at Brisbane’s incredible Victoria Park complex and a state-of-the-art trampoline from the team at Vuly.

The Pyjama Foundation founder and CEO Bronwyn Sheehan said she was humbled by the support the event had received already and was hopeful this year would raise more funds than ever before.

“Attendance at our Gala Ball always leaves people with the most special, magical feeling that they are really doing something important to change the direction of a child’s life,” she said.

“It’s so much more than just a chance to get dressed up, attendees here first hand from the children and carers they are supporting and the impact our Foundation has made on their lives.”

Currently, there are more than 48,000 children in foster care in Australia, with more than 9,000 here in QLD.

The Pyjama Foundation currently mentors more than 1400 of these children nationally and feels it is only scratching the surface of the level of support it can provide to kids in care.

Statistics show without early intervention such as The Pyjama Foundation’s Love of Learning program, many children in the system will not graduate grade 12 and face heightened statistics of homeless and juvenile detention.

To support the Foundation at their Big Dreams Gala Ball and help turn these statistics around, please purchase a ticket via: https://tiny.cc/BigDreamsBall

 

Please contact events@thepyjamafoundation.com for more information on sponsorship opportunities.

Dedicated volunteers across the nation honoured for supporting kids in care

Empowering children to believe in themselves and their ability to achieve their goals is a special gift few people get the opportunity to give in their lifetime.

But those like our 12 Pyjama Angel of the Year winners of 2019 are afforded the opportunity to share in this gift each and every week.

This year our winners absolutely stopped us in our tracks with their commitment, love and ownership of their Pyjama Angel roles.

We’ve heard some remarkable stories about their time together, from learning to shave to riding a bike and everything in between.

In New South Wales, our winner Julian Bowker had entered the life of the young man he supports at a tumultuous time and despite having to put up with a lot, always “persevered with patience and compassion”.

“As A’s caseworker, I have had numerous conversations with Julian around supporting A in any way we can,” she the child’s case worker.

“Julian’s advocacy and determination is second to none and is of great benefit for not just A, but for everyone involved.”

 

Megan Guenther and Julian Bowker of NSW

Back in Queensland, we had the opportunity of honouring another special Pyjama Angel who has been part of our family for more than 11 years.

Brisbane’s Karen Cutlack was placed in a home back in 2008 where she remained throughout many years, supporting more than 40 children in this time.

The foster carer she has supported throughout this time said every child she came in contact with, “loved her, trusted her and respected her”.

“Karen knew all of the kids well, their strengths, weaknesses, everything.” She said.

“I don’t know how she does it. She knew how to treat them all individually but also altogether too. She has a magic gift.”

The Pyjama Foundation Founder and CEO Bronwyn Sheehan said knowing people like Karen and Julian were ready and waiting to make a difference in the life of a child in care was one of the reasons she founded the Foundation 15-years-ago.

“People like Karen make me all the more committed to continue this vital work and reach the thousands of children in care we are yet to support,” she said.

Ms Sheehan said the Foundation is always looking for new volunteers to come on board and help support all the children desperately awaiting their arrival.

“We love welcoming new volunteers, however if you would like to support but don’t have time to visit each week a donation is just as significant in ensuring the sustainability of our Program,” she said.

Congratulations to all those who were honoured at this years Pyjama Angel of the Year Awards. Including: Sandra McNally of Toowoomba, Gillian Vaughan-Jones and Jean Shaw of the Gold Coast, Ann-Maree Paynter of Ipswich, Lisa Crompton of Gladstone, Moya Mullins of the Sunshine Coast, Robert Shaw of Mackay, Natasha Jones of Logan, Alisa Patterson of Cairns, Phil Wilson or Melbourne and Lesley and Bev of Townsville.

Cowboys star inspires children in foster care with love of learning

When North QLD Cowboys footballer John Asiata isn’t on the field or with his family, you can often find him supporting children in foster care.

As a volunteer with The Pyjama Foundation, John is one of 1400 volunteers providing learning guidance, support and mentorship for kids in care.

This year he’s gone one step further encouraging his community to join forces for National Pyjama Day on July 19.

On this day each year, businesses and schools across Townsville wear their pyjamas to raise vital funds and awareness to support children on the foster care system.

In Townsville, this Program is made extra special with the addition of John, who moves between the homes of different children sharing the joy of sports with them.

One of The Foundation’s Townsville carers detailed just how special the interaction is for her children.

“All the children love spending time with their respective Angels because they feel that they are not being judged but accepted for who they are,” she said.

“A special mention to John Asiata who came out to see the kids. It was a buzz for the kids to have a game of footy with John.

“Toby* is a big fan of the Cowboys. John stayed for some time talking to all the children in our home and they asked a lot of questions and they listened to his stories.

“He is such a lovely individual who makes it that little more special. He is an asset to have on board and I know the kids are thrilled to see him.”

Founder of The Pyjama Foundation, Bronwyn Sheehan says the number of foster children is continuing to grow every year and without extra support, empowerment and encouragement, many of the children’s futures will be compromised.

“Currently there are more than 48,000 children in foster care, and statistics show that more than 30,000 of these children will not complete high school.

“Many children in care bounce from home to home, and to difference schools which greatly hinders their learning.

Funds raised from National Pyjama Day will go towards the recruitment and training of more Pyjama Angels as well as learning resources for the children including books, puzzles and educational games.

Last year more than 1,800 participants donned their Pyjamas and raised a total $250,000. This year we hope to continue growing this number and helping children in need receive the educational support they urgently need.

To get involved, register your workplace, school or group for National Pyjama Day at www.nationalpyjamaday.com.

Meet Zoe: Creating a Brighter Future for Kids in Care

 

 

This is Zoe. Not only is she a Pyjama Angel, visiting a little 10 year old boy, she has also signed up for Pyjama Day and has created her own fundraising page – managing to gain support from her workplace to raise much needed funds for kids in foster care! We spoke to Zoe to know why she signed up and why it matters to her.

 

Why did you decide to sign up for Pyjama Day?
I signed up for Pyjama Day because I realised I could help. I knew I’d at least generate some interest among my friends and family, but also thought I could try and go one further and get the OK to fundraise more broadly in my workplace. I did this by stealing 5 minutes in my Executive Managers weekly meeting and walking into said meeting in my dressing gown and slippers. I then proceeded to tell them the story of my friend J* and how he and many other children are in these situations through no fault of their own, but there’s things we can do to help.

 

Are you planning to do anything exciting in particular on the day? Like a Bake Sale or morning tea?
I have made it very simple. Wear your dressing gown or slippers to work for a gold coin donation. This is simple enough that anyone can do it – even in a corporate environment, as it is easy to change bank into corporate attire for meetings! But it still sends a powerful message and gets peoples attention. It’s also a bit of fun and such a great idea in the middle of winter! Little did I know that I’d also receive support from colleagues offering to make food and sell it as part of the fundraiser. It all starts with an idea!

What made you sign up to become a Pyjama Angel?
I wanted to contribute more as a human being. I thought, have an hour I can spare each week and I can read!” Something so small can mean a lot to people, particularly those who don’t have the support we often take for granted.

 

What’s it like being a Pyjama Angel and can you describe your placement with the child?
I have been paired with my little buddy, 10-year-old J*. J is in residential care, which means he really doesn’t have much consistency when it comes to the people that are in his life.  J likes dinosaurs, transformers, Lego and make believe. Like many kids with autism, he has trouble with his communication (which is where I come in). We have only had 5 visits so far, but we’re already at the stage where he comes running out to greet me with a big smile when I arrive. I can tell that he enjoys our visits and it is definitely the most rewarding part of my week.

 

You can support Zoe and help her reach her fundraising goal of $500 by donating here or you can sign up your workplace for Pyjama Day by heading towww.nationalpyjamaday.com 

Do it in your PJ’s

Do you want to support The Pyjama Foundation but you’re tired of all the basic fundraising techniques? Do you want to try your hand at something new and fun while getting your friends together to raise money for a good cause?

While we do have National Pyjama Day coming up on July 19th, we do love to hear about people who have thought outside the box to help raise much needed funds for kids in foster care. For this reason, we have put together this handy list of fun ways to support The Pyjama Foundation! Don’t forget to tag us in your photos at @thepyjamafoundation.

Surf in your PJ’s

You’ve got to be the bravest of the brave to take on the cold ocean waves during an Aussie winter, but it would make for a fun photo!

Host a footy/soccer/netball/basketball game in your PJ’s

If you play a social sport, try and get your team to play in their pyjamas for a game. Loosing team makes a larger donation? Go anywhere with this idea!

Pop up PJ fashion show

Pyjama fashion week anyone? Why not host your very own fashion show at your workplace, school or home? Encourage everyone to come in their favourite pyjama’s, ‘register’ their walk to your fundraising page, and get them to strut their stuff for a day of fun-raising!

Host a quiz night

Office quizzes are great fun, plus they’re a great team-building exercise! Charge teams a few dollars to enter the quiz and you’ll end the day with a tidy sum! Now there’s the matter of putting some questions together. The typical route is general knowledge, but why not mix things up and do something unique to your workplace or school? Get people to submit some fun and crazy facts about themselves, or maybe even baby photos and get your teams to guess who’s who!

Host a board game tournament

Bring out your old board games and hold a unique tournament fundraising competition. Whether it’s Monopoly, Pop and Hop, or Trivial Pursuit, people will have a blast reminiscing over some of their old favourites! If you’re a little more competitive, have people play against one another throughout the night and keep score so an overall board game champion can be crowned and receive a prize – even if it’s just bragging rights. Get your players to ‘register’ to your board game tournament by making a donation to your fundraising page.

Host a fun “night in”

Have facemasks, cheese and… (fruit juice?) at the ready and host a relaxed, laid-back gathering at your workplace, school or home (dress code: PJs, obviously) and ask guests to donate what they would typically spend on a big night out.

Neighbourhood movie night

Why not host a fun movie night in your backyard, at your school or at the local park. Invite all your neighbours and have them donate food, drinks and lawn chairs. Charge an “ticket price” of your choice, and let the fun begin!

 

We know not everyone wants to wear their favourite dressing gown, so why not consider a different theme instead?

Christmas in July

We can only dream of a white Christmas here in Australia… or we can celebrate it early with a kitschy Christmas themed event in July? Think winter wonderland or an “ugly sweater” party?

 

There are so many fun ways to show your support to our cause, it just takes a bit of brain power. We are just happy to have you on board, but it would be the cherry on top if you take these suggestions on board! Create a fundraising page here!

 

Find your Calling this National Volunteer Week

For not-for-profits, the hours given by each dedicated volunteer are quite often a large part of their success.

It’s because of the hard work of selfless people who make a commitment to change a life which allow children in foster care to believe in themselves and their dreams.

This National Volunteer Week, there are so many reasons to say ‘thanks’ and honour those who give their precious time to others.

We absolutely rely on our Pyjama Angels. After we recruit, screen and train these generous volunteers, they are matched with a child in foster care. They then commit to visiting the child once a week to inspire a love of learning.

Our founder and CEO Bronwyn Sheehan said it was these incredible people who allowed her to build The Pyjama Foundation from the ground up. These people believed in her mission from the start and continue to give their time – some 14 years later.

“After all these years, I have had the pleasure of working with some of the most amazing human beings,” she said.

“I have shared their tears, as they cried for those little people they cared for so deeply.

“And I have shared their happiness as they beamed with pride sharing their successes.”

How you can help

Bronwyn said her hope is to continue inspiring the community to join The Pyjama Foundation family.

“As we have grown, so have our waitlists,” she said.

“We currently have hundreds of children across the country waiting for a Pyjama Angel to come into their life.”

Becoming a Pyjama Angel offers just as much for the volunteer as it does for the child, with many commenting on the fun and fulfillment it brings to their lives.

For more information on how to volunteer, please head to our volunteer page at www.thepyjamafoundation.com/volunteer.

I see you, you matter: Foster carer Kathy shares moving journey

Last weekend, The Pyjama Foundation celebrated our 4th annual Sydney Gala Ball. It was a huge success in helping us raise vital funds to support our Love of Learning Program. A highlight of the night was hearing from our incredible Sydney-based Carers Kathy and Tim, who brought the room to tears with their moving words. Here’s a snippet:

So why did we go into fostering? At the beginning, it was because we had struggled with infertility but we didn’t want to let that stand in the way of having a family. But really, there is one overarching reason why we became foster carers and I think this may be true for most foster carers:

It’s because our reasons to say yes were so much bigger than the reasons to say no.

You don’t need to be perfect or a saint to be a good foster carer. We really are just an ordinary family. I am certainly far from saintly and far from perfect but I know I am a good carer and a good mum. Despite my many faults, what makes me a good carer is that even on my very worst days, my kids have the most important things they need: they know they are loved and they know they are safe. What makes a good carer is a great capacity for love. A willingness to understand why kids with trauma behave the way they do and willingness to parent them the way they need, not the way others may think they deserve.

A good carer has a great tolerance of failure. And most of all, a good carer must be willing to risk a huge amount of heartbreak, more than you think possible. You sign up to give that child all the love that they need, irrespective of whether they are moving in for one week or a lifetime. You sign up to take on as much of the child’s heartbreak as you can, in order to spare them more.

Foster carers love the starfish story. If you don’t know it, it’s the story of hundreds and hundreds of starfish washed up on a beach, and a young boy walking along picking them up and gently throwing them straight back into the sea. A man walked up to the young boy and asked him what he was doing. The boy tells him he is throwing the starfish back into the ocean, otherwise they’ll die. The man laughs and says there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish. That the boy won’t make any difference. The boy listens politely, then bends down and picks up another starfish and throws it into the surf. He smiles at the man and says,

“I made a difference to that one”.

This is what foster carers do and this is what Pyjama Angels do. We change the world for one child at a time, and that makes a world of difference.

Another way I like to think about it is the metaphor that everyone has their own road in life. There are ups and downs, sometimes there is light and sometimes it’s dark. And as you walk this road, you have your burdens to carry. We’ve been lucky: Tim and I have both had hard times in our life, but overall for both of us, our road was free from fear and any barriers we faced were low. We may not have always been able to see where that road would take us, but thanks to our support systems, we could travel our roads with the optimism that everything will be okay.

But the same cannot be said for the vast majority of children in care.

Imagine you are one of these kids. You are starting out on dark, broken road. You don’t have any choice about what road you are allowed to follow. You can’t see what pitfalls lie ahead. You don’t know what may be around the corner. And you are carrying heavy, heavy burdens and it’s hard to move forward because these weigh you down. You stumble and you are hurt. But there is no one there to help you. Or the people who are supposed to help you don’t listen… or worse. They hurt you. Maybe someone comes to help but they don’t stay around for long. You don’t know who you can trust. You are small, alone and scared.

As a foster carer, I choose to join my child as he walks this road. I will walk with my child every day, so he is not alone to fight battles no child should know about… even on those days when it feels like he might be trying to push me off the road. Like every other parent, we try to shoulder as much of our child’s burden as we can. We try to protect them from the pitfalls and the broken roads and lower the barriers they encounter. And if we cannot bring light to their dark road, we walk with them in the darkness until we find the light.

When you hear about organisations like The Pyjama Foundation, you know that there is still a strong community of people who believe that they can make a change. When you work with The Pyjama Foundation, you see the impact that the organisation makes in the lives of the vulnerable children – and the families – they work with. For us, the impact has been tremendous and lasting. At the lowest ebbs of our lives, we had the unwavering support of the Pyjama Foundation and for us, it made a huge difference.

Now let me tell you about my son B*. He is now 11 but when we first contacted the Pyjama Foundation he was 6 years old. He loves science, computers, cooking and sewing. He is funny. He is cheeky. He loves to dress up. He is my loving, quirky, loud, special boy. And I have been his proud mum since he was 9 months old.I saw the Pyjama Foundation as a way to help him feel special. To get more of the individual attention he needed, with the added bonus of helping a child who doesn’t like reading and wasn’t doing well at school.

I contacted the Foundation and the support we needed came through quickly. There was no question that asking for help meant that we were not coping. Just a genuine desire from everyone at The Pyjama Foundation to help my child as quickly as possible. They talked the talk, and they walked the walk. Not long after the paperwork was completed I had a call about a Pyjama Angel, Meg.

I didn’t know much about Meg. I knew Meg didn’t know much about us. But you know what? That didn’t matter. All that mattered is that my child needed help and Meg was willing to help him. Regardless of the grief and trauma consuming our family, B* had the predictable calm each week of Meg coming in.

Let me say again, B* was a child who hated reading and struggled to positively engage with learning at school. This was also clear to Meg but it didn’t take her long to work out what makes B* tick. They would do science experiments together, with Meg gleefully telling me that she once blew up a lab at uni, but don’t worry, she’ll make sure they don’t blow up my house.

When explaining fractions to B* she would use recipes as a way to translate the concepts in a language that made real-world sense to him. They would do coding programs together. Meg would encourage B* to do a little bit of work with her so they could fit in a sewing lesson at the end of the session. Meg has a million and one ways to get B* to read without realising he is reading. But more than this, every week when Meg visits, B* has the reminder that he has support, and it’s more than just academic support.

Of course the benefits aren’t just at home but at school. I think the time B* has spent with Meg had taught him to persist. B* has learnt that, yes, schoolwork is often hard and daunting but he can keep trying. He is learning to ask for help and that when he asks for help, it will be given. Working with Meg has undoubtedly helped to increase his academic confidence and then his engagement and behaviour at school.

I think B* now feels like he is finally succeeding at school. We have always told him that it’s not always the smartest people who are the most successful, but successful people are always those who work hard and don’t give up, even when things are really hard. B* has heard this from us a million times, but Meg has been the first person to really help him live this.

I hope by sharing our story, you will understand that The Pyjama Foundation is so much more to us than weekly volunteers that help with reading. For both B* and Ruby, it’s that special person who is reliable and predictable and kind who is there nearly every week, regardless of what chaos may be going on in their little worlds.

For them, it can be those long weeks when you hear kids at school talk about play dates and parties that you’re not invited to, but knowing that every December you’ll get an invite to the most amazing Christmas party thrown by the Pyjama Foundation where you will be made to feel so special but so normal all at once.

It’s not knowing if everyone you love will remember your birthday, but being surprised by a beautiful birthday card and book, of course sent by the Pyjama Foundation. It’s all these things that might seem small to us, but to these small, wonderful kids it means so much.

I see you. You matter. I am here for you. I want to help you.

I unapologetically gush when I speak about the Pyjama Foundation but they have been a lifeline for us in some truly difficult times. It has been an honour to speak tonight. Not because my family is different or special or extraordinary, but because to the Pyjama Foundation we are spectacularly, gloriously ordinary. We are no different to the hundreds of families this wonderful organisation helps, and like every one of these families, the Pyjama Foundation makes a tremendous, grassroots difference to us every single week.

Twelve years ago we became foster carers because we held hope. Hope that we could make a difference. For the Pyjama Foundation, it’s more than just hoping they will make a difference. It’s a belief that has become a reality for so many.

 

Carers influential in allowing kids in care reach full potential

Eight years ago, foster carer Penny Hallett’s desire for equal opportunities for all children saw her dedicate her life to providing care.

Inspired by her experience as a volunteer for The Pyjama Foundation, Penny and her husband began to explore the idea of becoming foster carers.

In 2008, Penny’s journey began when she was matched with a young boy in care through the Foundation’s Love of Learning Program. Together they played educational games, read stories, built confidence and set the child up to be much more than what life had given him.

Penny went on to mentor another young girl, where she met a foster carer who had cared for children for over 40 years and inspired Penny to explore becoming a carer herself.

In 2011, Penny and her family embarked on the process and became full time foster carers.

This Foster and Kinship Carer Week we celebrate the wonderful people in our community just like Penny. People who are opening up their hearts and homes for children in out of home care.

“As a volunteer with The Pyjama Foundation, you are able to form a positive relationship and encourage a love of learning,” she said.

“We would read books together, sometimes we would go outside and enact the stories that sparked their imagination, or just jump on the trampoline and laugh a lot.

“The children I mentored and have in my home have the most heart wrenching stories, but you know what, they just get on with it.

“Apart from all the ‘mum things’, I see my role as a Foster Carer as being my kids advocate until they can do that for themselves.

“I can’t imagine my life not being involved with kids in care, and I am grateful for the lifelong friendships I have made with other carers and all the wonderful staff at The Pyjama Foundation.”

Child Safety Minister Di Farmer congratulated Penny on her support for children in care, both as a Pyjama Angel and now as a foster carer.

“The men and women who volunteer to be foster carers are some of the kindest and most caring I’ve met,” she said.

“Penny has given some children who need some love and support her time, care and attention both as a Pyjama Angel, then as a foster carer.

“Penny’s opened her heart, and then her home. You really can’t underestimate just how life changing that kind of support can be to the children who are looked after by our carers.”

The number of children in the out of home care system continues to rise in Australia. There is now more than 9,000 children currently in foster and kinship care in Queensland.

Foster and Kinship Carer Week runs from 21-28 April and aims to celebrate and thank people like Penny for their continued work. These special people are ensuring the most vulnerable children have a loving place to call home.