1. Who can be a foster carer?
Many different types of people make good foster carers. We need carers from a range of ethnic, linguistic and cultural backgrounds in order to meet the wide range of needs of the children requiring care. Foster carers must be at least 21 years old and can be single women or men, cohabiting, married or same-sex couples, with or without children, young or old.
2. Do you need foster carers Australia-wide?
Barnardos Australia currently only needs foster carers in NSW and the ACT.
3. Do I need to have lots of space in my home to be able to foster?
You do not need a big house, but in most cases, depending on the age and gender of your children if you have them, you will need to have a spare bedroom to give the child much needed privacy and space.
4. Can I be a foster carer if my children still live at home?
This depends on the age of your children and the needs of the child you foster. Children who need care often have very complex needs and require a great deal of time and attention. Therefore, caring for a foster child may not be appropriate if your own children are still very young. Fostering a child is a big change so it is important to talk to your children and to ask them how they feel about it.
5. Can I be a foster carer if I work?
This depends on the needs of the child and the type of care you are providing as well as the flexibility of your work. For permanent care we usually request that someone is able to be at home for the first six months of the placement. However, many of our carers who care for adolescents work full or part time, and respite carers are usually people who work full-time but are able to spend one weekend a month with a child.
6. Can I be a foster carer if I have a criminal record?
There are some offences and serious crimes which would automatically disqualify you from becoming a carer, however in general we assess each application on its individual merits and your eligibility to apply will depend on the nature of the offence and when it was committed.
7. How do I become a Barnardos Australia foster carer?
Please complete our become a carer enquiry form, specifying where you live and which type of care you are interested in, and one of our workers from the relevant team will contact you to invite you to discuss further.
8. Can I foster children of a specific age or gender?
Yes you can specify an age range or gender of child you would like to foster. Our workers will discuss your preferences with you and assess your lifestyle to match the needs of a child to you and your individual situation. We generally do not place children in households where there are children of the same age group.
9. How long will it take to become a foster carer?
It can take up to six months to be approved as a foster carer and then depending on which kind of care you are doing, it can take anything between a few days to several months to be matched with a child.
10. Will I receive any training?
Yes. All approved carers receive initial training specific to the type of care they are providing before a child or young person is placed with them. Three sessions a year of ongoing training are also provided to all carers in order to help develop the specialist skills required to care for a child or adolescent.
11. Do foster carers get paid?
No one can fully compensate for the 24 hours, seven day a week support our carers provide. We do provide reimbursement for the expenses and time in recognition of the time and effort it takes to be a foster carer, except for permanent/adoptive carers of children under the age of two years.
12. What support will I receive from Barnardos Australia?
Support is available to all our foster carers 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our case managers provide assistance, support and home visits and regularly assess the placement to ensure the needs of both the child and the carer are being met. Foster carers receive ongoing training and can participate in regular support groups.
13. What if the child and I find it hard to get on with each other?
Children in care and their foster carers receive support throughout the placement and issues are dealt with by your case manager as they arise. Barnardos Australia will ensure that children with physical, emotional or behavioural problems receive the necessary support to help both the carer and the child deal with those issues.
Count yourself in and start the journey to become a foster carer today.
Take our quiz now.
If you would like to speak to someone about becoming a foster carer, please call 1800 663 441 or fill out our online enquiry form.