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There is no perfect formula for being a foster carer. The most important thing is to have a caring heart and open mind, to understand that children in care are likely to have complex family situations and have faced difficulties in their lives. If you have a desire to change the world – one child at a time – we’d love to work with you.

We have an obligation to screen all people expressing interest in caring. Some of the considerations we take into account when assessing your eligibility are detailed below.


In most instances applicants need to be at least 25 and under 70 years of age.


Both married and defacto couples may apply to become carers, however some foster care types require applicants to have an established relationship history. CatholicCare assesses all types of couples.

Single applicants are also encouraged to apply.


Having children of your own is not a barrier to becoming a foster carer. However, studies indicate that in most instances it is best for any prospective foster child to be the youngest the child in the family with at least a two year age gap.


As part of the assessment process applicants will need to undertake a medical check with their General Practitioner to ensure they are in good physical, emotional and mental health. Whilst most diagnoses do not exclude someone from becoming a carer, in some circumstances CatholicCare may require additional information from a specialist when considering an application.

Whilst smokers can apply to be foster carers it is a requirement for the interior of the house to be smoke free to protect the health of the child.


Whilst CatholicCare does provide financial assistance to help cover the costs associated with fostering, applicants need to be financially stable, sufficient to meet their own needs and commitments.

In most instances applicants are not expected to leave employment when becoming a foster carer.


Applicants need to reside in NSW at the time of application to the agency and be either Australian citizens or hold a permanent residency visa.


Both homeowners as well as renters can apply to become foster carers. What is most important is a safe environment free of hazards and a private bedroom for any potential child entering your family.


All applicants need to be of good character, as well as any other adults in your household, and are required to undertake a Working with Children Check and a National Police History Check. Applicants will also need to provide CatholicCare with two contactable referees during the assessment process.

CatholicCare are unable to consider applicants who have a record of serious crime especially involving violence, sexual assault or any crimes against a child or young person.

Successful applicants will also be registered on the Carer Register managed by the Office of the Children’s Guardian.


A collaborative partnership between applicants and CatholicCare is the key to fostering success. A CatholicCare Case Manager will support your family and foster child through regular communication as well as through regular home visits. Case Managers also spend one on one time with the children they work with. CatholicCare Case Managers work with carers to organise supports and services for the children they work with.

If you have any further questions about fostering a child or young person, our team is here to help.

For more information:
P: (02) 9481 2600

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Tragically, there are many children and young people in our community who are unable to live with their families through no fault of their own.

CatholicCare is seeking families to provide essential support, care and stability for children and young people affected by family breakdown, to enable them to recover and thrive.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is foster care and what do foster carers do?

Foster carers play a pivotal role in supporting children who cannot live at home, providing for the child’s physical and emotional needs to heal from past traumas. While the initial goal is often for the foster child to return home, some children will need care until they turn 18 years or beyond. The ultimate goal of foster care is to give every child a chance to reach their full potential by ensuring they have access to education, healthcare and opportunities within a caring family environment.

Why do children end up in foster care?

Most of the children needing foster care have experienced adverse childhood experience including abuse or neglect. This can impact their behaviour, self-esteem, emotional and educational development. They may have difficulties trusting adults and forming relationships with others. By providing a safe environment and a secure attachment to carers, children who have suffered developmental trauma can begin to heal and explore the world around them.

What are the different types of foster care?

  • Emergency carers provide immediate crisis care ranging from a single night to a few weeks. The duration of the placement depends on whether the risk at home can be removed or, until the child is placed with an alternative short-term or family carer if the safety concern cannot be resolved.
  • A respite carer is an individual or family who for one weekend per month or more often cares for a child in our program. Respite care provides a child’s full-time foster family with a break, and a chance to recharge. It also provides the child with the opportunity to learn more about living with safe, caring adults.
  • Short-term care can be as little as a few weeks or up to 24 months while a child’s matter is before the courts to determine whether or not a child can go back home safely, or an alternative family can be found.
  • Long-term carers will care for a child until the young person reaches 18 years of age or is ready to move into independent living. CatholicCare expects that long-term carers commit to achieving this goal for the child in their care, with ongoing financial, emotional and practical support provided.
  • Kinship care is where children are placed with relatives or close family friends rather than with unrelated caregivers. Kinship care preserves valuable connections for the child by allowing them to stay within familiar family networks, which may reduce trauma and sustain a sense of stability during a difficult period.

Can I adopt a foster child?

CatholicCare offers foster care as a pathway to permanency, which may include options such as guardianship or open adoption. Adopting a foster child is a complex process that requires careful consideration and legal requirements, and our care team will support and guide you through the process.

How old are the children requiring foster care?

The need for foster care spans across a broad range of ages in NSW, catering to infants, children, and adolescents between 0 and17 years who need temporary or long-term nurturing and stability in their lives.

Are children and young people in foster care badly behaved?

Every child is unique, and so are the behaviours presented. These children and young people may have difficulties trusting adults and forming relationships with others. As a result, it can take some time for a child to settle into a foster family and their emotions may be expressed in ways that carers may find difficult. Some children adapt quickly to their new home, while others can take longer to form a secure connection with their carers. CatholicCare supports our foster carers in developing knowledge and tools for trauma informed parenting skills.

Will I get paid to be a foster carer?

An allowance is provided to cover the care and living costs of the foster child.

Do I have to pay for the child’s expenses myself?

On top of the carers allowance, additional funding can sometimes be accessed to engage services to meet children’s additional needs, such as orthodontic and optometrist costs.

What training is required?

We provide regular training for carers facilitated both in-house and externally to mentor carers through their journey and learn how to be great foster carers. As part of the application process, foster carers complete the trauma-informed program called Shared Lives, empowering them with a deeper understanding of fostering and an approach to building a safe and nurturing home environment for children who have suffered from trauma.

Can I have my own children in the house, and still foster?

If the applicants have children, additional consideration will be given to ensure safety and minimise risk in respect to any child in the home. In most instances, this may result in the child placed by CatholicCare being the youngest child in the family with at least a 2 year age gap.

Is it true I need to have a spare bedroom for the child or young person? Can they share a room with my other children?

The child or young person should have their own room to sleep in. There may be an exception for siblings who can share a room.

What disqualifies you from being a foster carer in Australia?

The process of becoming a foster carer involves probity checks, including a Nationally Coordinated History Check (police check), a Working with Children Check, a Community Services check and a medical check from your doctor.

Applicants need to be at least 25 and under 70 years of age. Married or defacto couples must have been married and/or living together continuously for a minimum period of 2 years.

How long does it take to be a foster carer?

It can take between 3-6 months to become an authorised foster carer in NSW.

What will the assessment interviews cover?

As part of the application process to become a foster carer, an assessor will conduct a series of discussions about your history, attitudes and connections, relationships and resilience, and child focused nurture. The assessor may conduct a conversation with family members, referees and support network.

I am already a foster carer with another service. Can I become a carer with CatholicCare?

Foster carers can only be authorised with one agency at a time. If you are already a foster carer with another agency, it may be possible to transfer to CatholicCare. Please contact us to discuss further.

Do children in foster care have contact with their birth family?

In most instances, yes. Children in foster care generally maintain a connection with their birth family, as this supports their sense of identity and belonging.

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