You web browser may not be properly supported. To use this site and all its features we recommend using the latest versions of Chrome, Safari or Firefox

Three years ago Slater and Gordon’s Liverpool senior legal assistant Kate Young made a remarkable decision that has not only changed the course of her life forever but the lives of five indigenous children who had been removed from the care of their biological parents.

Back in 2010 Kate was contacted by the Kari Aboriginal Resources Centre to see whether she would be interested in fostering two Aboriginal girls. Kari is an organisation set up to manage a culturally appropriate out-of-home care service for the local Aboriginal community in South Western Sydney and is the largest agency of its kind in New South Wales.

Kate’s husband at the time is Aboriginal and she felt a close affinity to their culture and an empathy for the hardships many of them endure in our community. After spending some time with the girls she decided to accept the responsibility as being their carer.

Later, after discovering that the girls had two brothers she agreed to foster them as well. She was then told that the mother was pregnant and before she knew it she had fostered five indigenous children up to the age of seven; she just couldn’t bear to see the siblings separated.

Since entering care the children have had little contact with their biological parents, which unfortunately is not uncommon, ‘It’s a very sad and difficult situation not only for the children but the parents too’, says Kate. ‘The three-old girl in particular has only ever known me as being her mother, having cared for her since she was three months old. The reality of it all will have to be dealt with later on.’

Kate goes to great lengths to ensure that the indigenous heritage is instilled in these children, that they learn who they are, where they’ve come from and are proud of it. This is a requirement of the Kari centre on all foster parents, and one in which Kate has whole-heartedly embraced.

‘This is something that the kids and I are learning about together,’ says Kate. ‘It may involve taking them to a gallery of indigenous art or a local festival celebrating indigenous culture with markets and dance classes. At home sometimes we put on a CD of didgeridoo music and the kids show me a dance they’ve learned.’

The local primary school in which the kids attend has been a great advocate of the indigenous community, says Kate. A parent committee meets every couple of months with a few of the teachers to discuss what they can do in the school to raise awareness of indigenous culture. For example, they are looking at starting up a dreamtime garden and putting in some totem poles to acknowledge the traditional land owners of the area.

The school has been particularly accommodating to Kate’s youngest boy, who has a developmental delay and behavioural issues, in helping him settle into kindergarten and getting the best possible results out of him.

‘Being a foster parent during the past three years has opened my heart and taught me to be more giving and caring towards others,’ says Kate. ‘These kids have so much love to give and have a very strong sense of family. It has been so rewarding to watch them grow into happy and healthy children who no longer have to worry about the serious stuff. They’ve each developed their own individual personalities and are really just great kids.

‘I consider myself extremely blessed and fortunate that my kids are settled and happy with life. In this situation it seems easy for children to become cold and detached especially if they go through numerous placements. ’

Juggling being a carer to five children and working full-time has been a huge challenge. Kate has been grateful to Slater and Gordon for granting her a transfer to its Liverpool office to be closer to home and allowing her flexible hours so she could attend to her foster-care requirements. She has given 14 years of loyal service to the firm, 10 of which have been spent working in the Sydney office.

Since this article has been written Kate has fostered a sixth child, a 13 year-old boy who has now joined the family.

Donate to the Kari Aboriginal Resources Centre

Across Australia one-third of children in care are aboriginal or Torre strait Islander. There is a displacement rate in the aboriginal community of 51 per 1000 children compared to 5.1 per 1000 children for non-aboriginal children.

There is a large indigenous community spread across the wider Liverpool area and the service the Kari Aboriginal Resources centre provides is in much demand.

The contents of this blog post are considered accurate as at the date of publication. However the applicable laws may be subject to change, thereby affecting the accuracy of the article. The information contained in this blog post is of a general nature only and is not specific to anyone’s personal circumstances. Please seek legal advice before acting on any of the information contained in this post.

Thank you for your feedback.

Latest blog posts

Employment Law
Whistleblowing protections: are you bulletproof?

Whilst at common law and through employment contracts employees owe a range of obligations to their employer, including the obligation to preserve confidence, some employees are faced with the unenviable task of working out what to do when they feel the need to report misconduct within their organisation. Whistle-blower stories frequently receive national media attention and the inevitable debate about their legal protections ensues. We are familiar with Andrew Wilkie’s revelations about the Iraq War and Bonita Mersiades, the former Football Federation Australia employee, who called into question Australia’s 2022 World Cup bid. Last year, Greg Medcraft, Australian Securities and...

Compensation Law
What is Australia’s most dangerous animal?

Australia undeniably boasts the most venomous and deadliest creatures on Earth. We have an assortment of brown snakes, red-bellied black snakes, funnel-web spiders, box jellyfish, great white sharks and crocodiles to name but a few. So it may come as a surprise to learn that Australia’s most dangerous animal – that is, the animal responsible for the most human deaths – is none of the above. Here we look at the most dangerous animals by fatalities: Bee While certainly not the most feared animal in Australia, the humble bee makes the list as a top-five contender. According to National Coronial Information System (NCIS) data, bees were the direct cause of 16 deaths between 2000 and...

Employment Law
Victorian labour hire inquiry

In September 2015, the Victorian Minister for Industrial Relations, Natalie Hutchins, announced an inquiry into the labour hire industry and insecure work in Victoria. The purpose of the inquiry was to investigate the practices of labour hire companies, insecure work, sham contracting and the abuse of visas to avoid workplace laws and undermine minimum employment standards. The inquiry heard from a total of 221 individual witnesses during 113 hearing sessions (over 17 days of hearings from November 2015 to March 2016) and received submissions from more than 695 organisations and individuals. Labour hire has been the subject of an increasing focus. Recent data indicates there are around...

We're here to help

Start your online claim check now. Or, if you have a question, get in touch with our team.