“The most rewarding part of being a carer is without a doubt the small moments. That moment when a child starts to open up, starts to trust you and feels comfortable. That’s when you know they feel safe.”
Every 45 minutes an Australian child enters the care system
They’re scared. They’re confused. They’re trying to cope with trauma. And they need a safe, nurturing place to go while it’s temporarily unsafe to live with their birth parents.
If you feel like now might be the right time to open your home and heart, you can be the support a child desperately needs during their hardest time.
It may be for a night, a weekend, a couple of months or long-term. Whatever you can give, there is a need for it and we’re here to help at every step.
Working Full-Time, Single, Renting, Living With a Disability
Are you eligible to become a carer?
Everybody is capable of caring. Foster carers come from a diverse range of cultures, religions, sexual orientations, families and marital status. And yes, single people make great foster carers too!
What’s most important is your capacity to help a child thrive.
You can become a foster carer with OzChild if you:
Are over 21
Live in our service area
Can provide a clean and safe living space
Have a spare bedroom
Have the time to care for a child in need (working full-time is fine)
Are willing to nurture someone else’s child who’s going through a difficult time
Sound like it could work for you?
Types of care
How long you care for a child is up to you
Short-term care: 1 night – 6 months
When you offer short-term care, you give a child a secure, stable home as they go through the scary experience of being removed from their family.
Short-term care can vary from just one night to up to six months. In most cases children require a safe place to live for a few weeks or months but some children also need somewhere to stay overnight, on weekends, or during the school holidays.
Ultimately, you have the flexibility to choose your preferred placement duration.
You also have access to plenty of additional support, including funded babysitting, transport support for school drop-off and pick-ups, holiday camps and more.
As a long-term foster carer, you can give stability and permanency to children or young people who can no longer live in their family home.
Every month, Child Protection asks us to find a safe, loving, long-term home for around 10 children. In these cases, the courts have decided it’s not safe for the child to return home. This could be for 6 months or more. It could be until they reach adulthood.
When you offer long-term care, you give a child the security and care that every child needs and craves. So they can finally unpack their bag and just be a kid.
Your wellbeing, and that of your household, is one of our top priorities at OzChild. You’ll receive plenty of practical support from us and an extended community of carers, including babysitting, drop-offs and pick-ups and respite care.
Here’s what other foster carers have to say about caring through OzChild
we went into our carer journey thinking we would only take young kids, now I realise we have so much to offer teenagers and feel like young people are those we can assist the most.
Mel and BarryCouple with two kids, aged 9 and 11
If you are thinking about being a carer, we say, do it! Don’t be afraid to call on your peers for support, knowing we are not alone makes our journey all that much easier.
David and MichaelCouple, with no kids
I had always wanted to be a carer but was not sure I could as a single person, I always thought I had to be a part of a couple.
MadelineSingle, with no kids
OzChild Carer Support Strategy
Better support for you, better care for children in need
To do your best work as a carer, you need support. That’s why every member of your household will be supported by the OzChild team.
Not only that, you’ll also become part of a community of carers that is rich with knowledge, friendship and support for each other. So you’ll always have someone to call while you’re caring for a child or young person who desperately needs someone on their team.
Your support network includes:
The OzChild Team
Respect, communication, support and relationships are at the core of our partnership promise to you. Your long-term wellbeing and happiness is one of our top priorities.
You’ll be supported with regular check-ins from your dedicated Carer Support Worker, monthly visits from your case manager, after-hours support, resources, training, and much more. So you have the foundation you need to make the biggest difference.
You’ll be introduced to a buddy after accreditation.
Your buddy will be one of our experienced carers, who’s there for you with practical advice or a friendly ear.
Buddies are especially good when you need a casual chat or want to download, with someone who knows the ins-and-outs of foster caring and has seen it all.
Village of Carers
We have a large community of carers who can help with advice and support, and who can provide you with items like clothes, car seats, toys or books, and most importantly, a unique friendship.
You’ll have the opportunity to join group meet ups and community events to let your hair down and get to know fellow carers.
Glenda and PaulCouple, with kids
“The joy we have experienced since becoming foster carers is incredible! And our own children (now adults) wouldn’t be the beautiful people they are today if we hadn’t decided all those years ago to foster.”
OzChild’s Foster Care Process
What are the steps in becoming a foster carer
The accreditation process is an important part of safeguarding the wellbeing and happiness of vulnerable children. For that reason, the process is thorough and takes approximately 4-7 months.
But you won’t have to navigate it all on your own. We will guide you through every step of the journey.
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 at OzChild, where we will get to know each other in a one-on-one setting. If you have a partner, they will also need to attend this meet and greet.
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.
You’re ready for your first child or young person coming into your care! We’ll start looking for a possible match and we will call you and ask if you’d like to accept the child or young person into your home. This stage could take some time, depending on how many kids come into foster care and how flexbile you are.
Keen to get started?
LuiSingle, with no kids
“Every minute with the kids is rewarding. We love sharing new experiences with the children and our extended family welcome them with open arms.”
Frequently Asked Questions
You might be wondering…
Yes. You can work full-time and foster. We tailor our support to ensure your foster care household and child/young person in your care thrives.
Yes. If you are a single person and have the energy and patience and care about children, you can become a foster carer.
Yes. OzChild welcomes carers from different backgrounds, cultures, religions and same sex relationships.
Children in foster care need privacy and a place to store their belongings, which means you need to have one spare bedroom in order to become a carer. If you live in a 1-bedroom house or apartment and you’re just wanting to care for little babies, they can sleep in a cot in your bedroom but only up to the age of one.
From the point of enquiry to accreditation as a foster carer, the process can take anywhere between 4 – 7 months.
We care for children and young people between the ages of 0-18.
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.
Yes. Whilst it may be one member of the household driving the application, it is a requirement that both partners complete training and assessment. Children in the home are also included in parts of the assessment. It is also encouraged that other household members especially those over the age of 18 attend training.
Foster care is not paid employment. Foster carers receive a tax-free fortnightly carer contribution based on the age of the child to help feed, clothe, educate and meet the needs of the foster child in their care.
We care a lot about our carers.
On a daily basis, you will be supported by a team of professionals!
Your Case Manager is there for you for both practical support with the child in your care but also for emotional support. Having a Carer Support Worker is unique to OzChild. They will be checking in with you on a regular basis and are your go to OzChild person during office hours.
There is also a 24/7 on-call service who are there to provide you with whatever support you need on the weekends, on public holidays and in the middle of the night. We’ve got your covered all hours of the day. And then there are lots of other professionals available to make sure the child/young person in your care receive the support they need from teachers, to speech pathologists and from psychologists to behavioural therapists.
At OzChild, not only have we had a Carer Strategy since 2020, we also have an ongoing commitment to work in partnership with you and all other OzChild carers to ensure you receive the best possible support.
The aim of foster care is to provide temporary care to a child with the aim of the child returning to their birth family. If the Children’s Court decide the child will not be returning to their family, discussions will occur on a case by case basis as to whether the child moves into a longer-term foster care placement or permanent care.
OzChild is one of the longest-serving Not for Profit organisations for children, young people and families in Australia.
OzChild has been around for 170 years, and we are focused on providing support for children and young people in foster and kinship care with a focus on keeping families together where possible. Over the years, we have transformed into a modern organisation with many evidence-based programs and services.