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Become a treatment foster carer

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

Treatment Foster Care Oregon (TFCO) is a specialised foster care program that supports children and young people with complex behaviours.

How does a young person end up in the TFCO program?

Children and young people do best when in family, or family-like environments, however there are few options for these young people when foster, kinship or birth family placements break down. The majority of children and young people who can’t stay with their birth parents due to safety concerns but also can’t stay with general foster carers due to their complex behaviours or high emotional needs, end up in residential care. This means these young people are living in a residential unit with up to three other young people with complex needs, supervised by youth workers on a rotating roster.

A young person will be placed in residential care if they cannot stay with general foster carers either because their needs are too great or because the kinship or foster carers cannot keep them safe or simply because there are not enough foster carers. Residential care is often an option of last resort. Young people in residential care are likely to have suffered trauma resulting from past neglect and/or abuse. Often they experience the additional trauma of being placed in a residential care unit with a group of similarly traumatised children and young people. Without appropriate care and support, the future for many of these kids is bleak.

This is where we come in!

How does the treatment foster care program work?

TFCO is the only known evidence-based proven therapeutic foster care model alternative to residential care. The program targets children and young people who already live in residential care or are at risk of entering into residential care because of emotional and/or behavioural difficulties. If the child or young person is suitable to participate in the TFCO program, they live with a trained treatment foster parent (you) for a period of six to 12 months.

At the end of the placement, the child or young person is reunified with their birth parents, other family members, placed in lower intensity long-term foster care or Supported Independent Living. Birth families or long-term carers are provided with training and support to ensure that they can continue to support the young person when they leave the TFCO program.

Treatment foster carers like you are highly supported and are given additional resources to assist with getting the lives of children and young people with complex behaviours back on track.

Who can become a treatment foster carer?

We’re looking for people from all walks of life. Race, gender, marital status, sexuality, and religion do not affect your eligibility to become a carer. We’re looking for individuals and couples who are:

  • Over the age of 21.
  • Have a suitable living space and a spare bedroom in the home.
  • It is fine to foster whilst working full-time or part-time, if you are interested in becoming a respite carer (one weekend a month). If you’re interested in becoming a full-time carer, you can’t have any other form of paid employment or running your own business by the time that first child comes into your care. If you are a couple, at least one of you must not be working.
  • Having experience in dealing with children or young people with complex behaviours is not mandatory but is preferable.
  • Living near one of our TFCO offices. Please click on your state to view a large map:

If you live just outside the service area we will contact you to discuss your enquiry further.

How old are the children and young people in the treatment foster care program?

As a treatment foster carer, you would care for a child or young person between the ages of 7-17 years depending on the state you live in.

VIC7-11 year olds
QLD7-11 year olds
NSW7-11 year olds
12-17 year olds
SA12-17 year olds

What are the benefits of becoming a treatment foster carer?

Be part of a life-changing program with the aim of safely reuniting children back with their families.

Receive full training and 24/7 support from a team of highly qualified specialists.


Receive a fortnightly tax-free reimbursement towards to costs associated with caring for a child or young person:

VIC$75,000 per annum (pro rata)
QLD$65,000 per annum (pro rata)
NSW$75,000 per annum (pro rata)
SA$65,000 per annum (pro rata)

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that deciding to become a treatment 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 treatment foster care.

Do you live in Victoria, South Australia or Queensland and would like to learn more about the program?

We run weekly information sessions where you will hear real-life experiences from one of our carers and you will learn everything you need to know to make an informed decision about whether becoming a specialised foster carer is for you.

These sessions are delivered virtually, so you can join the meeting from the comfort of your own home by using your computer, tablet or smartphone.

*Please note these info sessions are for applicants from Queensland, South Australia and Victoria only. They will run from 7-8pm in Queensland and Victoria and 6.30-7.30pm in South Australia. If you are from New South Wales, please submit an enquiry here and we will send you an eBook and next steps via email.

  • Thursday 24 November
  • Wednesday 7 December
  • Tuesday 13 December

To attend one of these info sessions, please submit your enquiry and add your preferred date to the comments field. Once you have done this, we will send you the link and instructions on how to join.

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