Support for Foster Carers
Fostering is hugely rewarding. It also brings with it challenges you may be unfamiliar with. Children in need of out-of-home care have often witnessed traumatic events and may not have received the nurturing they need.
These experiences can cause children and young people to become stressed, anxious or angry. They may withdraw, be depressed or show challenging behaviours such as lashing out at you verbally or physically.
Consistent nurturing and understanding from a foster family goes a long way to helping children or young people cope with these issues. But at times you will also need extra support from a case worker.
We support you, while you support them
To help prepare you for these sometimes challenging behaviours, we provide ongoing training and 24-hour support. Your training will cover:
- Caring for adolescents
- Understanding sexualised behaviours
- Caring for a child or young person with autistic spectrum disorder and ADHD
- Identifying and managing stress
- Fostering healthy relationships with birth families
- Surviving allegations and investigations
- Understanding the impact of trauma on brain development and attachment
Once you become an authorised foster carer for Challenge Foster Care, you will become a part of our team dedicated to supporting the children and young people in your care. As part of the Challenge team, you will take part in planning and decision making for the child or young person in your care. You will also receive a reimbursement carer allowance from Challenge Foster Care and may be eligible for additional supports.
Financial Support For Foster Carers
As a foster carer, you are provided with financial support to assist you in your caring duties. Foster carers receive a fortnightly allowance to meet the day-to-day expenses associated with caring for a child or young person.
What financial supports are available?
To help with the costs of being a foster carer, financial support is available dependent on the number of children in your care, the level of their needs, and the type of care you provide. A foster care allowance is paid to carers to cover most of the additional costs of caring for a child or young person.
What am I expected to pay for as a carer?
Expenses to be covered by a foster carer include:
- Education costs
- Basic medical needs, including medication
- Text books
- School excursions
- General medical needs and dental needs
- Recreational activities
- Pre-school fees
- School camps
- Sporting activities
Any additional funding requests will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be approved within the child or young person’s case plan.
Other financial assistance available
You may be eligible for financial assistance through the Australia Government. For the range of supports available, visit the Department of Human Services website: www.humanservices.gov.au.
What learning and development support is available to carers?
Challenge have a learning and development strategy to support our carers in providing trauma-informed care. Challenge also provides training and support to assist carers in providing care which meets the specific needs of the child/children placed within your care.
After authorisation, Challenge provides foster carers with regular training. This includes training in relation to providing care to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people; attachment and bonding; contact with significant others; and, challenging behaviours.
Challenge provides continued support to allow you to complete two training sessions per year through the provision of flexible training options and casework support.
Ongoing learning and development is considered a requirement of being a carer for Challenge.
All potential carers will undergo an assessment prior to being authorised as a foster carer for Challenge. The Carer Assessment will look at the elements of care and identify areas of strength and further development. This process will determine the potential carer’s suitability and the recommended conditions of authorisation to support.
Challenge in matching children and young people to your family and circumstances. This assessment will be completed by a qualified and experienced carer assessor.
Once you have become an authorised carer for Challenge, we will complete a Review within 60 days of your first placement and annually thereafter. Carer Reviews may also be undertaken where there is a change in carer circumstance or as requested by Challenge. On completion of a carer review, a plan may be created to address any areas of support or development that were identified during the Review.
Supporting current foster carers
The team at Challenge cannot thank you enough for your dedication to providing a safe, stable and nurturing home for a child or young person in need.
In our carer’s hub you will find access to our training platform as well as fact sheets and useful resources for carers.
We’re committed to supporting Challenge foster carers. Using the platform ‘Tribal Habits’, training has been developed in-house, which means it can be regularly updated and new training can be developed and added in a timely manner based on carer’s feedback. We are proud to be able to provide this level of support to our carers. Log into your Tribal account here.
Other training available
Funded by the NSW Government, My Forever Family (MFF) provides in-person and online training across the state, including remote and regional areas. MFF hosts regular training events, support groups and workshops throughout the year, and their dedicated Carer Support Team is there to give you personalised advice and information via phone or email.
Foster Carer Events
Being able to share your experiences and questions with the people who’ll understand best – other carers – is a key to feeling fully supported. Challenge local offices organise regular catch-ups either in person or online to ensure you’re connected with other carers. These events can also include carer training as well as expert speakers.
We regularly request carer feedback on these events to ensure you’ll have a range of times and dates to choose from, so you won’t miss out.