Frequently Asked Questions - OzChild

Foster care FAQs


When thinking about becoming a foster carer, there are lots of questions you may have. We can answer them for you.

How can I become a foster carer?
Simply register your details on the Information Session Enquiry Form to begin. We will contact you to discuss the next steps, and let you know when the next OzChild information night is on.
How long will it take me to become a foster carer?
After the information session you’ll be asked to complete an application, followed by training if you are accepted. From the point of your initial enquiry to accreditation usually takes between 6 – 8 months. 
What happens in the assessment process?
The assessment process ensures you have all the support and training you need to become a foster carer. Learn more here.
Can I choose the age/type of the child I care for?
Our children are all ages, from babies through to teenagers and young adults.

We will help you consider the age and needs of the child you feel best match your family, interests, lifestyle and skills to help make the best possible match.

This is an important part in ensuring your foster care journey is enjoyable and benefits all.

What sort of behaviour might I expect from a foster child?
Children and young adults in foster care have often experienced a variety of traumas and neglect and their behaviour is usually the result of these complex experiences.

Managing these behaviours can be challenging and OzChild will work through this with you to help you decide if foster care is right for you.

What sort of care might OzChild ask me to provide?
There are several types of foster care that OzChild provides. You will only be asked to provide the type of care you feel confident to give:

Emergency care

Emergency care is needed when there are concerns for a child’s immediate safety.

Emergency carers need to be able to provide care at short notice, after- hours and on weekends.

Respite care

When parents and other carers need a break, respite carers can step in to provide relief for short periods of time, such as school holidays, weekends or for short periods during the week. Respite care is usually planned and scheduled well in advance and is often for one weekend per month.

Block Placements

Block placement is the term referred to for children who are requiring care for a longer time frame.

Short to medium term care can last up to six months with a focus on reuniting the child with their birth parents or extended family.

Long term or permanent care is needed when the child is not expected to return to their family based on an outcome from the Children’s Court.

We urgently require carers who are able to provide longer term care for a child in need and you can offer a mix of care depending on your circumstances.

Can I be a foster carer and work full time?
Yes. Whether you work full time or part time, OzChild will offer appropriate placements that fit in with your lifestyle and working hours.

It’s important to note that there could be times when you need to care for your foster child during work hours, for example if the child is unwell and unable to attend school.

What happens when my family wants to go on holiday?
Holidays are important to the wellbeing of all individuals and families. By advising your case manager of your plans in advance, they will work with you to ensure you can carry out your holiday plans with minimal disruption to both you and your foster child. Our kids may go on holidays with you too.
Can I afford to be a foster carer?
People often worry if they can afford to foster. Foster carers receive a tax-free fortnightly carer contribution based on the age of the child to help feed, clothe, educate and meet the other needs of the child in their care. A number of other payments and reimbursements are also available for certain children and situations.
Do foster children attend school?
In most cases school age children in foster care will continue to attend their current schools. OzChild aims to place children with carers who live close by to allow children to maintain their schooling and retain some stability. Whilst we aim for carers to manage the day to day, in some cases assistance with transporting a child to school can be arranged.
I’m not sure foster care is right for me, how else can I help?

While foster care is essential to the work we do, OzChild continues to seek a wide range of support from the community.  If you would like to become volunteer or offer your time as a mentor for a child in care please click here to apply.

You can sign up to receive our newsletter or show your support by joining our Facebook page to receive updates on ways to help.

You can also make a positive difference by donating to OzChild to help us continue to provide our services to children and young people in need. Click here to donate to OzChild.

What makes OzChild different to other providers?
OzChild is a not-for-profit organisation committed to to improving the lives of at risk children and young people every day. We are independent and non-denominational.

Our comprehensive approach ensures we work tirelessly to ensure the physical, social, emotional, cognitive, cultural and spiritual needs of children in our care are nurtured and developed. It is this vision and commitment that allows us to support not just the children entrusted to OzChild’s care but our carers and staff as well.

OzChild’s extensive network has offices and support programs throughout the South East region of Victoria. We work in partnership with the Australian Childhood Foundation,  VACCA, The Pyjama Foundation and a range of specialist organisations offering therapeutic foster care, adolescent and child focused programs and training.

Do I need experience to look after a child with a disability?
No.  We provide around the clock support for you at every stage as well as ongoing training.
What sort of care do children with disabilities need?
We provide respite care for children with a range of disabilities, these include:

Physical disabilities such as cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, spina bifida and amputation – Click here to read more on physical disabilities and download our fact sheet (PDF Fact Sheet 283kb)

Sensory disabilities such as vision impairment, deafness, autism – Click here to read more on sensory disabilities and download our fact sheet (PDF Fact Sheet 336kb)

Intellectual disabilities such as Down Syndrome and Fragile X Syndrome – Click here to read more on intellectual disabilities and download our fact sheet

Autism Spectrum Disorders – Click here to read more about autism disorders and download our fact sheet.