Congratulations to our Barnardos Mother of the Year 2019 National Winner, Maria Worner.

Nominated by her daughter, Nikki Worner.

Maria Worner is a full-time, salt-of-the-earth foster carer who continually goes above and beyond the call of duty for her own children as well as those in need of an advocate. The single mum of two currently has one foster child and also provides respite care for other foster families.

During her 15 years as a foster carer, Maria has looked after children with complex medical needs as well as those who were considered “unplaceable”, never wavering in her belief in each child’s potential or in her efforts to provide the support they need to turn their lives around.

Her care extends to children – many of whom are Sudanese refugees – in her basketball community who she informally takes under her wing. Maria can often be found at the centre of fundraiser barbecues for children who cannot afford fees for sport, having recruited the children themselves to learn the value of working to achieve a desired goal.

Maria was nominated by her daughter Nikki Worner, who says her Mum “makes it all look easy”.

“Our house is built on honesty and respect for one another,” Nikki says.

“We have never been a rich family, but nor did my sister or I ever go without – we were taught that if we wanted something we had to work for it.

“I think the reason why Mum is so good at what she does is because she treats any child that walks into our house like one of her own. She has the same rules and clear boundaries.

“Children don't need money thrown at them and gifts. They need real support with school, learning to trust, doing the right thing, boundaries and simply being loved. And I truly believe that no one does that like my mum, Maria Worner.”