Challenges of foster care

woman and child

Experienced foster carers who have performed this dedicated role for many years will all tell you the role is full of challenges as well as rewards.

Although it’s impossible to predict every challenge you might face as a carer, many of the possible scenarios and how to deal with them are covered in preliminary and ongoing training sessions. It also helps to network with foster care team members in your area (see support).

Many of our foster carers will tell you that many of the challenges, when handled successfully, bring the greatest rewards that only foster care can create.

Your foster care caseworker is trained in these very challenges, and you must always contact your caseworker if any of these problems seem overwhelming.

Foster care is about team work, and you should never bear these problems alone.

Challenges in foster care can include:

  • caring for a drug addicted baby
  • caring for a child (or young person) with physical or mental health issues, including depression
  • caring for a child with behavioural and/or hygiene issues
  • problems with foster care child and other children in the family
  • caring for a child from a culturally and linguistically diverse background
  • caring for a child with a disability
  • problems with birth parents or friends and significant people in the child’s life
  • caring for a child with a history of abuse
  • caring for a child in trouble with the law
  • caring for a child who discloses an unreported incident of abuse
  • a child threatening your and/or your family’s personal safety
  • a child suffering an accident or death
  • a child wanting to leave your care
  • foster care placement disruption
  • foster care placement breakdown.

Most of these challenges will bring stresses to a foster care placement no matter how caring and well-prepared foster carers may be.

It is important that you talk to your caseworker about potential problems so you have realistic, rather than idealistic, expectations of the foster child or young person when you accept the placement.

Never be afraid to contact your caseworker to discuss any concerns you have regarding your relationship with the child or young person.

As long as they are safe from harm, we may be able to provide additional support and strategies to enable the foster care placement to continue and help resolve the problems.

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