Through no fault of their own, thousands of Australian children and young people are raised in unsafe or inadequate family environments where their guardian’s capacity to care for them isn’t always the safest option.

In these situations, the children are often placed in the foster care system to be looked after by another family that can provide them with proper care and security - ultimately giving them the best chance at succeeding in life.

In 2018, it was recorded that around 45,800 children were in out-of-home care, with 39% of them in foster care. Foster carers are given training, support and allowances to enable them to provide the best care for the children and often do not hesitate in welcoming these young people into their homes with open arms.

One organisation that aims to support carers and provide a better life for foster children is Foster Care Angels - a not-for-profit organisation located in New South Wales. They are committed to empowering children, supporting carers and promoting hope during what can be a confusing and despairing time for these children.

Foster Care Angles work tirelessly to provide children with essentials and comfort items such as toiletries, books and toys. They also strive to increase awareness about the need for more support for children and carers and create opportunities through corporate and community partnerships. On a more personal level, Foster Care Angels instil strong positive values in the children to encourage them to strive for a positive life and offer support to foster families, especially around facilitating the transition from foster care to independent living.

The annual Foster Care Angels Christmas Drive is a program that fundraises and engages with the community to gather donations, toys and vouchers to use as presents for children who are living in out-of-home care and deserve an extra special Christmas.

After hearing about the positive work of Foster Care Angels, particularly around making Christmas special for vulnerable children, The Lottery Office has donated $5,000 to the charity in support of their endeavours. These funds will go towards their 2019 Christmas Drive, where hundreds of gifts will be delivered to children living in alternative care arrangements.

General Manager of The Lottery Office, Jaclyn Wood, said she hopes this will help brighten Christmas for dozens of children who often miss out on its joy and cheer.

“Christmas is an exciting time and many of us can remember our own childhoods when we would eagerly wait to see what Santa had brought us, surrounded by our family,” Ms Wood said.

“Unfortunately, for thousands of children in the foster care system around the country, Christmas is often a sad time of year.

“We hope this donation makes a difference to these vulnerable young people and makes their Christmas extra special this year.”

The Lottery Office urges anyone interested in making a child’s Christmas special to donate to Foster Care Angels by visiting the website: www.fostercareangels.org.au/.