Fostering, guardianship and adoption


Keeping families safely together is always our priority. When this is not possible, fostering, guardianship and adoption offer children a safe, stable and nurturing home life that is free from neglect and abuse.

Foster care

Foster care is needed when children and young people, through no fault of their own, cannot live with their own parents or families. Foster carers can provide short- or long-term care, including respite and crisis care.

Family and Community Services has transferred most of its out-of-home care service provision to the non-government sector. Research has shown that non-government agencies are best placed to deliver out-of-home care support to children and carers.

While foster care is now mainly managed by non-government agencies, Family and Community Services is recruiting small numbers of carers in certain locations across NSW – especially carers of Aboriginal children and short-term or crisis carers.

Become a foster carer

If you are interested in foster care, apply with one of the many accredited non-government agencies delivering support to children and young people and their carers. Visit to find out more about fostering, hear real carer experiences and search for a foster care agency nearest you. You can also call 1800 2 FOSTER (1800 236 783) to find out more.

Although the Department has transferred the provision of out-of-home care to non-government agencies, we are recruiting carers who can offer immediate (‘emergency’) and short term care as well as carers for Aboriginal children, children with a disability and sibling groups. For more information please complete the enquiry form or call 9765 5000.

Adoption and guardianship

Adoption permanently transfers all legal rights and responsibilities of a parent from a child’s birth parents to the adoptive parents. If you are interested in adoption, please read Thinking About Adoption and complete the Adoption Information Package order form (included in Thinking About Adoption).

Adoption and guardianship can provide a stable and safe home for children and young people in out-of-home care, when they cannot be safely restored to their birth family.

Guardianship is for a relative or kinship carer (or sometimes an authorised foster carer), who is considering seeking long-term full parental responsibility for a child or young person through an order of the NSW Children’s Court. Under a guardianship order, a guardian takes on full parental responsibility of the child or young person, making all decisions about their care until they reach 18 years of age.

Related links

Factsheets for carers of children and young people in out-of-home care 

To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)


To report suspected child abuse or neglect, call the Child Protection Helpline on 132 111 (24 hours/7 days)