RECORD BALL

Gary and Karen Mangan with Erica Westbury board chair FCS and MP Ray Williams and wife Wendy

More than $70,000 _ more than double the target, was raised at the Bivianos Gala Ball for the charity Foster Care Angels.

It was a glittering night of great food and great company at the Dural restaurant but the dire situation of children in the foster care system hit home.

Guests at the Gala dinner heard from foster carer Alicia Vrsaljko about her experiences looking fostering children needing crisis care.

Founder of Foster Care Angels, Kelly Doyle said statistics concerning foster care were “truly horrendous”.

“One third of children will have 11 or more placements … potentially 11 or more schools. How do these kids learn love, trust and attachment? Half of young adults will experience homelessness in the first 12 months of leaving care.”

She said children from foster care were 7-8 times more likely to suffer from mental health issues and are also over-represented in substance abuse and teen pregnancies.

Foster Care Angels advocates for disadvantaged foster children who are victims of trauma or are struggling within the foster care system. Services include providing therapy dogs, counselling and foster family training.

Wendy Bennett from FCA said: “This money will be essential in enabling FCA to provide support services that no one else will fund. “This includes our education and support services to the biological children of foster carers.

“These young adults are unrecognised front line carers and often don’t speak of their struggles until they are desperate and that’s when placements breakdown.

“The detrimental impact of fostering on the biological children of foster carers is the leading cause of carers exiting the system.“

Funds will also go towards providing Christmas gift hampers to those children and young adults living in hotels/motels and caravans of which there are hundreds in NSW.

osts on the night were Castle Hill State MP Ray Williams and Hills Shire Mayor Michelle Byrne. MC and auctioneer was Dr Jim Taggart.

Mag Hosny from Bivianos said they were delighted with the result and thanked the generosity of supporters.