Is foster care right for you?

September 13, 2021

There are approximately 46,000 children in out of home care in Australia, which is an increase from 43,100 in 2017. Some of these children get placed with a relative, but a good percentage require foster care. If you have been thinking about fostering a child, now is the ideal time to investigate it more. And the timing is perfect as it’s Foster Care Week this week.

We acknowledge foster carers are doing it extra tough at the moment with the added pressure of COVID and home schooling – but the reality is we still need more carers. Can you open your heart and your home to a child or young person in need?

You can help provide hope for any of the thousands of children in need of a secure home and loving family to fill the gap in their lives. Not only will your actions give a child security and love, but fostering is also a rewarding job. At CatholicCare, we provide a foster care program that unites children in need with caring families. Here we explore foster care in more detail.

Types of foster care

Different types of foster care exist, so if it is something you are interested in exploring we can help match you to a type of care that best suits you and your family. 

Emergency care

Some children and young people are placed in foster care at the spur of the moment, due to an emergency. When this occurs, we need people who can take in a child quickly. It may be for just one night, or it could be a couple of weeks. Sometimes the child can be moved from the foster care setting to a relative’s home, or they can be returned to their home if the risk level is removed.

Short-term care

A short-term foster home involves taking in a child or young person for up to two years while the courts sort out the details. The child may be able to return home if the living situation becomes stabilised.

Long-term care

When a child needs long-term foster care, it’s usually because they don’t have options to stay with a relative, and their own home is not considered a safe option for them. Foster parents will commit to taking the child in and raising them until they are 18 years old.

Respite care

During respite care, you care for a foster child for one weekend a month (or more). This allows the foster family some time to recharge and rest.

What training is required?

If you decide you would like to become a foster carer, you will go through a training program. Every adult in the home will need to participate. This will prepare you for understanding what foster care is all about, what the expectations are of you and what you can expect when a child or young person comes into your home. Many times, children who come to foster homes have experienced neglect or abuse, and significant trauma in their lives. Special training will help equip you to handle these types of issues.

Carers also undergo a background check and personal assessment review. The background check will involve a check of your home, police history, medical situation, and references. During a personal assessment, a foster care representative will conduct a home study that includes coming out to your home to interview you and others residing in the home. Its is a rigorous process but understandably so, as vulnerable children and young people are entering a stranger’s home.

Find out if you’re eligible

You can check your eligibility by filling out the survey here. Or, use this checklist to get a general idea about your status:

  • You need to be between 25 and under 70 years of age.
  • Marital status is not a requirement. But, if you are married or a defacto couple, you must have been living together for at least 2 years.
  • Health wellbeing is a factor, as well as infertility issues.
  • You must have the financial capability to take on a child.
  • Safety and accommodation requirements in the home must be met.

These are some of the most common factors that feed into the eligibility criteria. Other issues may impact the decision making process – someone in our Foster Care team can explain the process in more details with you should you like us to.

Make a difference in a child’s life today! Visit our website to find out more.  If you’re curious, feel free to call for a chat – no obligation. It’s a big decision – we understand there are lots of questions and we are happy to walk you through the process.


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