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Virtual Babies Offer Unique Perspective

​Alisha Evans holding virtual baby with Nurse Lani Clements.
Year 10 students at Toolooa State High School gained insight into what their weekends may look like should they become teen parents.
The Virtual Baby program, made available through Queensland Health and facilitated by the School Based Youth Health Nurse, Lani Clements, sees students take home a pre-programed baby for the weekend where they must care for the child, their efforts are recorded, downloaded and students are provided with feedback as to how well they parented.
“Most students collect their baby on a Friday afternoon with enthusiasm and excitement for what the weekend will bring.
Many of them come back on Monday morning shocked by the level of care needed; they’re ready to hand the baby back which you just can’t do in the real world,” Ms Clements said.
Student, Alisha Evans, is used to noise and responsibility with seven other children in her family home, however being responsible for a baby proved to be a different experience than that of a sibling.
“I wasn’t expecting anything bad; actually I was keen as on Friday but then on Monday I couldn’t get back here fast enough.
I thought it was going to be a bit of fun, I didn’t know it was going to wake up so often and I didn’t know how loud it got; I thought, if I just leave it a bit it might be quiet,” Alisha said.
With Alisha’s family actively providing foster care support, there is always someone to look out for or someone to help with.
“Mum always says a good cry can do them some good but they cry all the time.
It was a good experience though cause I went out to my cousins football game and you can’t ignore it; you can’t just watch the game, you have to look after the baby so I won’t be doing that anytime soon,” Alisha said, very relieved.