Eddies Backpacks began less than a year ago after meeting with the FCAV. Kids going into foster care arrive with nothing and with placements happening quickly, foster carers don't have time to arrange personal things.
WE DECIDED THINGS NEED TO CHANGE
We produced 70 backpacks with items including toothbrushes, photo frames, towels and books. The contents came through meetings with foster carers and kids. Having personal items can make a huge difference to the traumatic time being experienced by the kids.
We have feedback from kids who still carry the bags and carers as well as Mackillop Family Services and FCAV and now include a survey with each backpack to continually improve the project.
Each backpack costs around $25 and while we funded the original phase we are aiming to target businesses for donations.
Our plan in the next 12 months is to partner with two primary schools and four secondary schools. We are also working with Bahay Tuluyan (a not for profit working with Australian schools) to promote our project at their upcoming social justice conferences.
We also want to promote foster care. With declining numbers of carers (and growing numbers of kids) in foster care in Victoria we are working to promote the concept of foster care to parents at schools. We reach a milestone next month when Mackillop Family Services will present to parents at Parade College Parent Teacher night to talk about foster care.
We want the project operating in 30 schools within 5 years. With our contacts this is possible.
Bernie Geary. the Commisioner for Children and Young People, spoke to us when we were invited to State Parliament in 2013. He was impressed and has offered his support to our project.
We think its an awesome project because it can change kids lives. We started this from nothing a year ago and we need help to make this massive.
Every time we produce a backpack another kid goes home and talks about foster care. This can change lives!
Funded by Melbourne (April 2014)