Door open to all for 30 years

LURNEA resident Janet Smith has dedicated her life to caring for young people.

Last week she celebrated her 30th year of service as a family day care educator at Liverpool Family Day Care.

"Time really flies," she said. "The party was nice and I appreciate everyone coming here to see me."

In the early 1980s, Mrs Smith found out she could not have children.

She was devastated. Then she realised that her role in life was to help others.

Mrs Smith became a foster carer and volunteered with Meals On Wheels. She started work at Liverpool Family Day Care in 1984.

"I chose to do the care at home so I could stay with my own children and be in a family atmosphere," she said. "I just love children.

"I have cared for 93 — possibly 95 — children long term, and I still remember each of them."

Mrs Smith said she enjoyed caring for children and recommended other stay-at-home parents to do the same.

"When you hear that first knock on the door every day, you are just instantly happy," she said. "I didn't do it for any rewards, though. They just become a part of your life.

"It is a good opportunity and anyone can do it. All you need now is a Childcare Certificate III."

Clae Dickson, 17, from Chipping Norton, said he stayed under Mrs Smith's care through the Liverpool Family Day Care program when he was younger.

"It was a good experience for me and she was a great carer," he said. "She still means a lot to me. I am going to try to stay in touch with her always.

"Going into care was not just care for me. It was like having another family."

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