Become a Foster Carer
Fostering is hugely rewarding and life changing for not only the child or young person in care, but the family and extended group of support around them. It also brings with it challenges that may be unfamiliar. Children in need of out-of-home care have often witnessed traumatic events and may not have received the nurturing they need. Whilst at times it can be confronting and have its challenges, the training and assessment that Challenge provide, and the support of dedicated staff will ensure you are well equip to deal with these difficult situations.
Our authorisation process takes between 6-9 months, and is based on a therapeutic care model, so you can provide the best support for a child or young person entering your care. Our priority is always child safety, so this process is critical, quite in-depth and can be challenging at times.
Who can become a foster carer?
We welcome foster carers from a variety of family and cultural backgrounds. This includes single people, de facto and married couples, and same-sex couples. Some of our foster carers have never had children, some already have a family.
You don’t need to have a lot of money to become a foster carer. It doesn’t matter whether you rent or own your own home, or whether you live in an apartment or house. But you do need to be able to show us that you can provide a secure, stable and home. It’s also important that you yourselves are well, healthy and able to deal with the challenges of foster caring. Equally important is that everyone in your home is willing to welcome a child into your family and take part in their care.
Are you ready to become a foster carer?
The following questions will help you decide whether you are ready to take on the challenging and rewarding role and become a foster carer.
- Am I willing to continue learning and developing new skills to help me care for a vulnerable child or young person?
- Do I have a reliable source of income to meet my existing family’s needs as well as the needs of another child or young person?
- Am I able to focus on the educational and health needs of all the children in my care?
- Do I have a spare bedroom in my house?
- Am I in a position to encourage other interests such as sport, music or dance?
- Am I willing to help a child or young person develop a sense of identity which includes their culture, family of origin, language and religion?
- Am I able to commit to working with Challenge Community Services and other agencies to ensure the best outcomes for the child or young person?
Foster Care FAQ
We welcome foster carers independent of their sexual orientation. If you can provide a safe and nurturing environment for a child or young person, you will be able to start your journey of becoming a foster carer.
Families come in all shapes and sizes, and Challenge welcomes all who are interested in becoming a carer. Whether you are single, de facto or married, the important part is that you can provide a safe and nurturing home for a child in need.
Have all children in foster care experienced abuse?
Not all children are placed in foster care because of abuse. Some parents are unwell, some have had severe financial difficulties, and some parent find themselves in a position where they cannot adequately provide the care needed for their children.
There’s a variety of reasons why children are in the foster care system, and it’s important to understand this in relation to how children express themselves through their interactions and emotions.
If an emergency were to arise during your time as a carer, you can access our after-hours support number.
To become a foster carer you will need to have a spare bedroom in your house for a child or young person. A bedroom allows a child to feel they have an opportunity to rest, play, be creative and feel like they have somewhere to belong. It is a room that they can take ownership of and call their own.
Having your own children share the same bedroom with a foster child is generally not accepted, neither is having a house member sleep in another room, i.e. in the living room, to allow for a spare bedroom.
It doesn’t matter if you own the home you are living in or if you are renting. As long as you have a spare bedroom and can provide a safe environment, home ownership is not essential.
Some people have concerns that having children enter their care will impact negatively on their biological family.
The reality is that some of our biggest advocates are the children of foster carers who are vocal about how much they enjoy sharing their lives with other kids.
At Challenge, we assess the needs of each family and undertake placement matching to ensure your family and your foster child are supported through the transition. Your biological children and your foster child will learn from each other. They acquire interpersonal skills of consideration, sensitivity and understanding. This learning opportunity will be shared by their foster siblings as they navigate the experience together.
Family contact will be dependent on the goal of the child or young person’s case plan, as well as any specific Court
Orders or agreements. Carers may be expected to transport children and young people to and from contact as well as supervising contact where it is safe and appropriate to do so. Caseworkers will provide support and training to carers to assist carers in fulfilling this role, where required. There may be times where transport and/or supervision is facilitated by the Case Worker or another authorised person. This is determined on a case-by-case basis.
Challenge promotes the exchange of information to the child or young person’s family as a way of building relationships and supporting the development of personal and cultural identity for children and young people. As part of this process, Challenge will consult with you in relation to the information that will be released to family members, and a risk assessment will be completed prior to any information being exchanged.