MURRAYLANDS couple Suzanne and Darren Moss have been guided by love and a passion to help children succeed as country foster carers for almost a quarter of a century.

Blessed with a country lifestyle on 130 acres in the Murraylands, the rural setting has provided a perfect backdrop for children to grow and thrive.

From exploring the creek and rock beds to bonfires and experiencing farm life, Darren and Suzanne said children in their care loved life on the land.

“They really enjoy the lack of fences and abundant open spaces,” Darren said.

“We feel grateful we can do this for children and provide them with experiences they may not have had the opportunity to enjoy otherwise,” Suzanne added.

Seven children have grown up in or remain in the long-term care of the Moss family, while many others have visited for shorter stays.

The fulfilling journey of providing love and support for young people began when Suzanne and Darren first explored options to start a family together.

“I always wanted to be a mum, but we weren’t able to,” Suzanne said.

The possibility of becoming foster parents captured the then Sydney-based Moss couple’s attention through a newspaper advertisement before they moved back to Adelaide.

“We went through the IVF program and that did not work for us, so we engaged in the foster care system and started the process to become carers,” Darren said.

A few days before Christmas in 1999, they welcomed their first foster child into their home – a young boy who remains in their lives, now aged 32.

“Suzanne and I have always said that if we can change a child’s life for the better by them having known us, well then we are happy,” Darren said.

The Moss family expanded as the couple welcomed a second foster child into their home, followed by their sibling, while also providing short-term and emergency care for other children.

“We had a lot of children just for emergency placements for a night, week or few months when we were younger,” Darren said, highlighting a period in the early 2000s.

“We would nurture them and just knew we had positively impacted on their lives,” he said.

“Even if we had them for a week, we could provide some stability and hope they knew there was someone who cared for them and we really enjoyed having them,” Suzanne said.

“We hope what we did for those children in the short time they were with us stayed with them for the rest of their lives.”

The lasting impact the couple has had on shorter term visitors to their home is clear with a child who lived with them for two years around a decade ago reaching out to the family through social media to reconnect.

“She still has a real fondness for us and it is incredible to think that at 10 years old, half her life ago, 10 years later she is like ‘oh my goodness, they remember me’,” Darren said.

The couple welcomed the opportunity for the heart-warming reconnection and sharing of photographs and anecdotes from that period of the young woman’s life to build on her existing memories.

COUNTRY CARERS: Murraylands foster carers Darren and Suzanne Moss believe their rural setting has provided a perfect backdrop for children in their care to grow and thrive.

Meanwhile, today the Moss family’s foster care journey is as active as ever and they proudly continue as ‘Mum and Dad’ not only for the three now young adults who entered their long-term care as children two decades ago, but also to a 12-year-old and three siblings aged 11, 10 and seven who have joined the family over the past seven years.

“We thought we had finished being ongoing foster carers and we were doing a few emergency placements, but then my maternal instincts kicked in,” Suzanne said.

Darren said while the couple knew they did not need to do “foster care 2.0” after they three young people in their care became adults, the decision to open their hearts and home to more children was a choice they would not swap for anything.

“We created the position we are in now and we love it,” he said.

They are supported by country agency ac.care, which provides foster care services across the Murraylands and beyond in regional South Australia.

“They are there if we need them and they know we will call if we need help with anything,” Suzanne said.

It was through that relationship with ac.care, as well as the Department for Child Protection, that the Moss family has been able to create positive outcomes for children in need of care, including the earlier siblings who are now adults, and the younger sibling group now in their care.

Suzanne said agreeing to care for multiple children was a personal decision they made based on their circumstances.

“ac.care gives you as much information as they can about a potential placement and then you make the decision whether you are able to welcome the child into your homeĀ  – the child’s situation has to fit your family and what is going on for you at the time,” Suzanne said.

Suzanne and Darren enourage other people to consider becoming foster carers to provide the love and support children need.

“If you want to change a child’s life for the better, even if it is for one day, one week, one month, or one or two years, then do it,” Darren said.

“Do it because you really want to nurture children and you want children to succeed,” he said.

“You give them all that you have – your skills, your love and hopefully it is enough for them,” Suzanne said.

“That is what they need – someone to love them and care about them genuinely.”

“The reciprocation is a hundred-fold,” Darren added. “You give the kids a bit of love and it just comes flooding back.”

ac.care is seeking country people to become foster carers and offer children and young people, who cannot live with their birth families, a chance to thrive in a safe and nurturing home in their own community.

The country specialist organisation works with people who are considering making a commitment to care for vulnerable babies, children and teenagers by providing an initial assessment, training, connection with other carers and ongoing 24/7 support to ensure carers have the assistance they need.

ac.care Locations

ac.care is a dynamic organisation servicing the South Australian communities the Limestone Coast, Murraylands, Riverland, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula.

Our mission is for all country people to have a safe home, enough money to live on and strong, positive relationships.

Please find our service locations here or use our contact form to request a service.

Mount Gambier
Head office and Foster Care

70-72 White Avenue Mount Gambier, SA 5290
PO Box 1842 Mount Gambier SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Community Centre

22-24 Ferrers Street Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Mount Gambier
Family Relationship Centre

1 Helen Street (cnr Bay Road) Mount Gambier, SA 5290
Monday
9am to 5pm
Tuesday
10:30am to 5pm
Wednesday
9am to 5pm
Thursday
9am to 5pm
Later by appt
Friday
9am to 5pm

Berri Community Centre
Servicing the Riverland

5 Kealley Street Street Berri, SA 5343
PO Box 1345 Berri, SA 5343
Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm

Murraylands Centre
Servicing the Murraylands, Adelaide Hills and Fleurieu Peninsula

29 Bridge Street Murray Bridge, SA 5253
PO Box 2090 Murray Bridge, SA 5253
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm

Millicent
Community Centre

57-59 George Street Millicent, SA 5280
PO Box 378 Millicent, SA 5280
Monday to Friday 9am to 4pm
Seek Help