Foster care

Foster care is provided to children and young people who are unable to live with their own families. Foster carers take on the responsibilities of a parent for a period of time, to provide a safe, nurturing and secure family environment for children and young people needing care.

The need for foster carers from a broad range of backgrounds has never been more critical. Find out more about becoming a foster carer.

We need people who can support children and families by caring for children while parents get help to change. We need people to be parents forever for a child through guardianship or open adoption and we need people who are willing to provide short-term care for children. Read more about types of foster care.

Through changes introduced on 1 October 2017 under the Permanency Support Program:

  1. A child or young person will now have a case plan with a goal for permanency within two years of entering care. Case plans will include different packages based on individual need.
  2. We are working hard to support birth parents, families and kin because with the right help, guidance and support services, people can change. If your child is in care, find out more about your rights and how the process works.
  3. We will work with the NGO sector to recruit, support and retain people who want to be guardians or adopt children as well as people who want to support children to go home when their parents have achieved change. We also need people for short-term care, emergency care or to just give other carers and family a break. If you are a current Community Services carer see our section for current Community Services foster carers.
  4. Intensive Therapeutic Care will replace residential care for young people over 12 who’ve been assessed as requiring intensive therapy. This approach will reduce the length of time in intensive out-of-home care services. If you are in care yourself, see our section for young people in care.

Foster carers are often in contact with the parents of the child in care, and all are involved in decisions and planning. If we all work together we can give every child and young person a safe, loving and permanent home in which they can thrive.

Foster Care resources - see our quarterly newsletter for foster carers, the Foster Carer Resource guide, fact sheets and other practical information for carers to support you.

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