In 2011, AHBC provided care to a total of 67 young people with 26 foster families providing long-term and respite care.
The Adolescent Home Based Care Program (AHBC) commenced in 1984 and is an important service at Westcare that provides accommodation, care and support to young people aged between 12 and 18. These young people are unable to live with their families of origin due to neglect, abuse and/or family conflict. The program relies on volunteer foster carers – individuals and families from the community who are trained and supported by Westcare.
The essential aim of the AHBC Program is to offer a supportive home environment that encourages and guides the young person in assisting them to develop the necessary skills and confidence for self-determination and independence. AHBC offers respite, emergency, short and long-term placement. The program is funded to provide 41 placements at any given time.
AHBC Case Study: Aiden*
Aiden was placed with AHBC in December 2006 when he was aged 13 as a result of physical and sexual abuse and due to his father's ongoing alcohol-abuse issues. Aiden and his two brothers had only been in Australia for 12 weeks when they came to the attention of Child Protection Services. The boys' mother was deceased prior to their entry to Australia. Aiden was placed on a Guardianship Order soon after entering care and was not placed with his brothers.
Aiden has had two placements with Westcare. During his first placement he was struggling with the language barrier between him and his carers, resulting in him at times exhibiting extreme frustration and anger. This placement ended after six months.
Aiden has been with his second caregiver since July 2007 where he had settled in quickly and has become part of the family. The family has been highly supportinve of his educational and sporting pursuits. Sadly, since his placement, Aiden has had limited contact with his brothers, mainly due to their father's refusal for this to occur.
Aiden has become a friendly, outgoing, empathetic and respectful young man who is very appreciative of his foster family and the efforts made to ensure that he has every opportunity to thrive and succeed. In 2012, Aiden will commence university studies and has been successful in gaining a scholarship to assist with most of the costs associated with his Bachelor's Degree.
Aiden continues to live with his foster family despite being an 18-year old and therefore no longer being a client of Child Protection Services. Westcare continue to be involved in Aiden's life and he has recently been helping the agency to recruit new caregivers for adolescents.