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How to become a foster carer

Scroll down to learn more about foster care, the children or young people you will be caring for and the process to become a carer.

Foster carers help children and young people who are temporarily unable to live with their birth family due to neglect, family violence, mental health issues or drug and alcohol abuse.

Being a foster carer is an incredibly rewarding experience. You can help create a brighter future for vulnerable children between 0-18 who would otherwise have nowhere to go. By opening your home and your heart, you can offer these children and young people a place to feel safe and nurtured, whether that is for one night, a weekend, a couple of months or long term.

Not sure if fostering is for you? By attending one of our virtual info sessions, you will learn all about the process, what types of care you can choose from and you will also hear from one of our foster carers. The info session is designed to help you decide if fostering is something you would like to explore further.

What type of care can you provide?

With both short and long-term care opportunities available, there’s one that can fit into your life.

Could you provide a safe and loving home for a child on a short-term basis? Care for a child in your home for anywhere between one day to six months? 

You don’t have to be in a child’s life for a long time to make an enormous difference. Short term care is about providing stability for a child that is dealing with the terrifying experience of being removed from their family home.  

Short-term care gives carers the flexibility to choose availability from one day to six months. While the length of care is usually for a few weeks or months at a time, sometimes a child will need a safe place to sleep for one night, on weekends, or during school holidays. 

Short-term care also supports families in the community who might not have anyone else to lean on. You could find yourself caring for a child(ren) for a single parent who requires a stay in hospital and has no one who can care for the child(ren) or a grandparent who simply needs a little break. 

Being a short-term carer is extremely rewarding, providing a child with a sense of security and safety without the trauma of moving from one strange home to the next because nobody can care for them for more than a couple of days or a week is one of the greatest gifts you could give. 

Short-term carers are given additional support with babysitting, drop off and pickups, access to holiday camps and much more.  

Often, we are asked by child protection to find a safe and loving home for a child or young person for a long period of time. This could be for six months or more, and sometimes it might be until they reach adulthood. 

In these cases, it has been decided by a court it is not safe for the child or young person to return home and it is our hope to find a long-term and stable home for the child. 

Long-term carers are vital in providing the stability and permanency so many children need and crave. Committing to care long-term for a child or young person means they don’t have to move from one family to another – it means they can finally unpack their bag and focus on being a child, without the worry of where they might end up next. 

How to become a foster carer

As a foster carer, you will play a critical role in supporting these children and young people by giving them a safe place to call home.

You will be invited to attend a virtual information session from the comfort of your own home. During the information session you will learn more about what’s involved in becoming a foster carer and you will also hear from an OzChild carer. The information session will run for about one hour. We encourage all members of your household to attend this information session.

You will be invited to have a virtual meet and greet with one of the recruitment team where we will get to know each other in a one-on-one setting. If you have a partner, they will need to attend too.

You will have to complete a Health Check, Police Check, a Working with Children Check and referee checks. All adults in your household will need to complete a Police Check and Working with Children Check.

All foster carers complete 16 hours of compulsory training, provided by OzChild at no cost to you. Your training will prepare you for the day-to-day responsibilities and challenges, all aspects of a placement, welcoming a child into your home, through to common daily experiences, and what it’s like to say goodbye. The training is mandatory for everyone in the house who will play a caring role.

A qualified assessor will work through five formal assessment interviews. Some of the assessments will be done virtually and some will be done face to face. The assessments will include a home visit where we want to talk to all members of the household and we will perform a home and environment check to make sure you can provide a safe place to stay for a child or young person.

Your assessor will present a report of your training and assessment to an accreditation panel for final approval. The panel is made up of OzChild staff, at least one representative from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) and a foster carer. You will receive a copy of the report beforehand.

We will contact you to ask if you’re able take your first placement to have a child, young person or sibling group stay with you.

Am I eligible to become a foster carer?

Foster carers come from all types of family units (including singles), backgrounds and cultures. Race, gender, marital status, religion or sexual orientation have absolutely no bearing on eligibility.

At OzChild, we value all prospective foster carers with the qualities and beliefs that we know will give every child and young person the chance to shine. 

You can become a foster carer if you:

  • Are over the age 21
  • Can provide a clean and safe living space and a spare bedroom in the home
  • Have the time and be willing to care for children and young people in need
  • Live within our West, East or Gippsland service area. Please click the image below to view a large map:

Upcoming information sessions

Our weekly information sessions are currently being held online using Microsoft Teams, which means you can join from the comfort of your own home. All you need is a tablet, computer or smartphone.

During this interactive one hour virtual session the Foster Care Recruitment Manager will talk you through a presentation on what is involved in becoming a foster carer with OzChild and you will also hear real-life experiences from an experienced OzChild foster carer.

To attend one of the below information sessions, please complete the enquiry form here. If you already know which info session you would like to attend, feel free to mention this on the enquiry form so we can send you the Teams link and instructions on how to join.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that deciding to become a foster carer is a big decision. That’s why we have created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page for answers to some of the most common questions about foster care.

Do you have a question?

Give our recruitment team a call on (03) 9695 2216.

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