Barb and Daves story: Foster caring through the bushfires

Permanency: Barb and Dave Rugendyke outside their new home. Image: Supplied
Permanency: Barb and Dave Rugendyke outside their new home. Image: Supplied

Anglicare foster carers, Barb and Dave Rugendyke, have fostered more than 400 children over three decades. They currently care for a 14-year-old and an 18-year-old, as well as their adopted 8-year-old daughter, Sarah, and they regularly provide respite care to toddler twins.

Sadly, they lost their home and all of their belongings during the ferocious bushfire that ripped through Cobargo on News Years Eve 2019. But even losing everything they had didn't stop them from fostering.

"It was a really difficult year. I think continuing to foster in the aftermath of the bushfires helped life feel more normal. Like everything wasn't all gone. We could still be useful and it was a bit of our old life we could hold onto when we had nothing," said Barb.

For the first few months after the fires, the family lived in four tents and a caravan before moving into a refurbished shed donated by Barb's nephew. Barb said caring for three children in temporary accommodation was challenging during the last year, but she wouldn't have it any other way.

"Barb and Dave are remarkable people and we would be lost without them" says Sue Cullen, Anglicare's Support Program (Foster Care) Manager, South Coast.

"What they've offered to children over the years is incredible. They are simply amazing people," said Sue.

One week before Christmas 2020, almost one year since the loss of their house, Barb, Dave, their foster children and daughter Sarah, moved into their newly rebuilt home.

Anglicare is working to recruit new foster carers across regional NSW to ensure all children and young people have a supportive and nurturing home environment to help them hope, heal and thrive.

Anglicare are looking for foster carers who truly enjoy caring for children and young people, enjoy parenting and are accepting and compassionate.

On September 30, Anglicare is running a no-obligation online foster care information session. The session will cover types of foster care, support available and carers and a birth mother will share their stories. Anglicare staff will be on hand to answer any questions.

To find out more visit