Life hasn’t been the same since Point Cook’s Sara and Will Ainsley became foster carers 18 months ago – and they wouldn’t have it any other way.

The pair, who offer a mix of short, long-term and emergency care, signed on after they visited a school while on holiday in Fiji.

“There were all these children with big smiles on their faces, and they literally had nothing,” Mrs Ainsley said.

“I [realised] I really wanted to do something other than working nine to five.”

Mrs Ainsley has since stopped work to care for children in need, and among their charges are two siblings that have been in their care for the past year.

Despite the pleasure of giving kids a warm, loving home, Mrs Ainsley said the reality of being a foster carer can be tough.

“We often get forgotten – we’re the last ones to know about decisions for the children, everything’s last minute.”

Mrs Ainsley is one of a number of foster parents to participate in the Caring for Carers program, which gives foster carers the chance to have a break – whether it be a lunch, or weekend away – with other foster carers to wind down and share experiences.

Foster Care Association of Victoria chief executive Katie Hooper said the organisation was running a crowdfunding campaign in February to raise money for the Caring for Carers program.

“Carers are coming to us emotionally, mentally and physically depleted and we saw a need to better support them and show they are valued,” Ms Hooper said.

To donate, go to chuffed.org/project/fcavretreat