Former foster child, Dylan Wallace. Photo: Melissa Adams
Growing up can be a tough experience, especially if you are doing it on your own.
This was the case for Dylan Wallace, who grew up without his brother or sister by his side.
Now 19 years old, the teenager from north Lyneham said he was initially placed with both his siblings when he went into kinship care about the age of two.
''But when I was four I was put in foster care, our sister was taken away from us and it was just me and my brother,'' he said.
''We only got to stay together until the end of 2000. From then it was just me and the foster family. Not having my brother there was tough to get used to.''
Finding foster homes that can accommodate all siblings is one of the issues to be tackled this weekend at the fourth National Youth Advisory Council forum, where young people with an out-of-home care experience can meet with key decision-makers.
Mr Wallace will be one of 25 young delegates at the forum in Sydney, where he will share his views on the need to be with siblings.
''I'm a strong believer in siblings being placed together,'' he said.
''Home is where the heart is, and if you've got your siblings with you, then there's half your heart with you. The other half you see on occasion, but you've got what you need. You've got family.''
Hosted by the CREATE Foundation, the forum will also facilitate discussions around contact with birth families, developing connections with the community and creating a sense of belonging for children in care.
Federal and state ministers, child protection agency representatives and statutory authorities have been invited to attend the forum's closing dinner, alongside the foundation's corporate partners and board of directors.