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November 24th, 2020

The FCAV's Caring Through Art program began in August 2020 via Zoom with the aim to assist carers manage during COVID-19 after we had heard many were experiencing distress, trauma, anger, isolation and grief and loss as the lockdown proceeded. Carers were taking on home schooling, respite was harder to obtain and they were often facilitating access in their own home via the phone or internet.

Carers had previously expressed feeling guilty when thinking of taking time out for themselves but we know that if this does not happen, carers may become burnt out and compassion fatigue sets in. We completed pre and post evaluation and it was evident that during COVID-19 their stress levels had increased but following the art sessions, stress levels had certainly reduced over the duration of the course and carers commented on how much they looked forward to the group each week.

 

Throughout the 6 weeks we were very lucky to get to know a wonderful group of carers whose creative side came out and overall they found the meditation and mindfulness activities very helpful. Many realised the importance of taking time out for themselves and knowing that other carers were struggling, provided them with an understanding that it was a challenging period for all and that they were not alone. Carers also stated they found the experience gave them another avenue of support, felt safe and enabled to try something new.

Art encourages the carer to use their imagination and express unconscious thoughts, worries, and grief and ultimately role model for the child in their care. As well as that this is a positive means of taking care of themselves. The skills they learnt from the group are also transferrable to the child/young person in their care and can provide additional means of creating opportunities to bond and attach and even help the child to express non verbally any trauma or loss they have experienced.

During the course, carers made their own tie dye to then create a mask, drew a mandala and then coloured them in, mindful watercolours, rock painting and weaving as well as making their own strength shield. 
         

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The Foster Care Association of Victoria acknowledges the unceded sovereignty of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation on whose land we live and work. We acknowledge the continued connection to Country including lands cultural knowledges and their peoples and pay respect to Elders past and present. We are the united voice and advocate for all foster carers across Victoria and we aim to continually develop our knowledge and act with respect to First Nations sovereignty.
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