Rachael Clancy was at the hospital with a tiny newborn baby, ready to take on the role of foster mum. As staff readied paperwork, she was handed a hospital garbage bag.
“It was tied up and had one tiny little dirty outfit in it and off we toddled with the baby,” she tells The Weekly today of the moment that would kickstart an initiative that she hopes will change the future for foster children across the country. “It really hit me that day. Here is this innocent little child, weighing just four pounds. Surely we can do better for these kids?”
At 11 years old, Rachael had been introduced to the world of fostering as her parents brought the first of many children in care into their household.
“I remember they got a phone call and there was a little baby who needed somewhere to go,” she recalls. “He was sitting at the police station and got dropped off with us that night. All of a sudden, I had a little baby brother. He didn’t stay with us for long, but soon after, I had another little baby brother – who still lives with us, he’s 21 years old now – and then there were multiple children after that. Some long-term, lots of short-term quick respite ones, but I grew up with a lot of brothers and sisters. Probably about 30. And I just loved it.”
At 28, Rachael began fostering herself. She’d received a call that a two-and-a-half-year-old girl needed urgent care. Despite her tender age, the toddler had already been passed through 27 different homes and was incredibly traumatised.
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