• What is a Barnardos virtual foster carer?
  • How do I become a Barnardos virtual foster carer?
  • What will I receive as a Barnardos virtual foster carer?
  • How much does my support cost?
  • What if I cannot afford that monthly?
  • What are the payment options?
  • When will I get my tax deductable receipt?
  • Can I choose my Barnardos child?
  • How does my money help vulnerable children and young people?
  • How long does my support as a virtual foster carer last?
  • Do my gifts go directly to my Barnardos child?
  • What happens if my child leaves the programme?
  • What happens if I cannot continue as a sponsor?
  • Can I write to my Barnardos child?
  • I have a question that has not been covered here, how can I get in touch?
  • Can I send money or gifts to my Barnardos child
  • Can I visit my Barnardos child?


What is Barnardos virtual foster care?

Barnardos virtual foster care is a unique and special sponsorship program. There are nearly 40,000 children in Australia unable to live with their parents and are living in out-of-home care*, but not everyone is in a position to take a child into their home. With the Barnardos virtual foster care program everyone can change a child’s life.

As a virtual foster carer you will follow the progress of a real child or young person who represents thousands of others receiving support from Barnardos programs. You will hear about the real events in their life and the real issues they face. You’ll receive updates from their Barnardos case worker showing you how your generosity is changing their young life.

The children in our virtual foster care program are real children who have been carefully selected to participate. These children and their families have agreed to participate and want you to know about the difficulties they face, the dreams they have for the future and the progress they make.

How do I become a Barnardos virtual foster carer?

You can sign up here  or call our dedicated Supporter Care Team on 1800 061 000.

What will I receive as a Barnardos virtual foster carer?

Once you sign up, keep an eye on the post as you will receive a welcome pack with information about your sponsored child and something special they have made for you -a paddle pop stick character that represents who they are and will help you get to know each other better. (To protect the privacy of each child we can't share real names or real photos).

You will also be given the opportunity to tell your Barnardos child why you became a virtual foster carer and create your own paddle pop stick character. Your child would love to hear from you.

We’ll then send you regular feedback from your child and their case worker to you so you can see their journey and how with support you are changing their young life.

How much does it cost to become a virtual foster carer?

Sponsorship costs $30 a month – that’s just $1 a day! All gifts over $2 are tax-deductible.

What if I cannot afford that monthly?

Of course not everyone can make a commitment of $30 monthly, however if you would still like to make a regular donation, our Barnardos Children’s Champion’s program has no minimum monthly amount. You will still be helping Australian children in need of protection, and receive updates from our programs and how your gifts are changing young lives.

Sign up to become a Barnardos Children’s Champion now.

What are the payment options?

Your monthly contributions can be deducted from either your nominated credit card or bank account via direct debit. Gifts will be deducted on the 19th of each month.

When will I get my tax deductable receipt?

To save administration costs and ensure your gifts are making the greatest impact we do not issue receipts for individual payments. Instead you will receive an annual consolidated receipt at the end of the financial year for lodgement with your tax return. This will be mailed to you in mid July.

Can I choose my Barnardos child?

No, unfortunately not. You will be paired with one of the carefully selected children in need of your help when you sign up.

The children Barnardos work with all need our protection to deal with the challenges they are facing in their lives. So you'll also understand why we also use no photos of them and no real names.

How does my money help vulnerable children and young people?

As an organisation we receive government funding, however it is only enough to cover the basic needs of the children we work with. Many children who come to Barnardos have suffered serious abuse or extreme poverty and disadvantage. Their problems can be substantial which is why the nature of our work is so complex.

Your monthly support will allow our work to go above and beyond basic services - giving these children a better chance at life. Work we can only achieve with the generosity of our supporters:

  • It takes a lot to help a child overcome abuse – especially if it is at the hands of their parents or family. But therapy and counselling to help these children understand that what’s happened to them is not their fault, and that they deserve to have good lives.
  • Children who have experienced abuse often have health problems. Each child who comes into our care is seen by a physician, they may need dental work, glasses, nutritional support and speech therapy.
  • Academic support so children that have been left behind can catch up.
  • School can be hard for these children, a school uniform that fits or even a school bag helps them to fit in with other children.
  • It is shocking to think that in this day and age and in this country many of our children have never had a toy to call their own or new clothes. Your support helps buy these little essentials.
  • Recruitment, training and supporting carers is a big part of Barnardos work. These dedicated people are often the first step in the transition to a better life for abused children. Our carers have our support day and night.
  • Our ultimate goal is to get these children into a permanent loving home, ideally with family members or with a family to look after them permanently. This sometimes means helping a relative prepare to take the child into their home, or helping parents rehabilitate from addiction or mental health issues. A loving home is the foundation for a good life – and it’s something your gifts will help provide.

Children who come to Barnardos use a variety of our services to address their needs. All our services are flexible and tailored to each individual ensuring we never give up.

While you will hear directly from your virtual foster child, your child represents thousands of other children in our programs so no one child is singled out for special treatment. Your generous gifts will be directed to where the greatest need is for the children in our care allowing you to have the greatest impact for all Australian children.

How long does my support as a virtual foster carer last?

Children and young people turn to Barnardos for help and we never give up on them. We ask you to stick with your Barnardos child as they transform their life. This could take time and we hope your commitment will last as long as possible.

Do my gifts go directly to my Barnardos child?

Children in our virtual foster care program have stepped forward to share the details of their lives, but we work with many others. You will receive updates about one real child who is receiving help from Barnardos, however your gifts will support all the vulnerable children in our programs, so no one child is singled out for special treatment.

What happens if my child leaves the program?

There is a chance that your child could leave the program. For example, they may be adopted, move home or their situation may change for a number of reasons. If this happens, we will let you know and if required introduce you to a new child who wants to share their story.

What happens if I cannot continue as a virtual foster carer?

If your circumstances change and you are no longer in a position to help, please call our Supporter Care Team on 1800 061 000, as there are other ways you can help that don't require the same level of commitment.

Can I write to my Barnardos child?

Shortly after you sign up to be a Barnardos virtual foster carer, you will receive some important information in the post. In it there will be a paddle pop stick character made for you by your child. It's a wonderful way for them to represent themselves to you. You will also find information on how you can send your child back a message and a paddle pop stick character of your own.  So please do! They would love to hear from you.

We also encourage you to send letters throughout the year. These children have stepped forward to be part of this program and to help other children like them. Knowing that someone they have never met cares enough to invest in their future gives these children hope.

All correspondence is exchanged through Barnardos Australia to maintain privacy and confidentiality.

I have a question that has not been covered here, how can I get in touch?

We're always happy to hear from you, so please do feel free to call our Supporter Care Team on 1800 061 000 or email info@barnardos.org.au

Can I send money or gifts direct to my Barnardos child?

Sponsored children have stepped forward to share the details of their lives, but we are working with many others. You will receive updates about one real child who attends a Barnardos program, while your gifts support the vulnerable children who need your help the most.

Please don’t send money, cheques or postal orders made out directly to your sponsored child as this does not contribute to the long-term development goals of the virtual foster care program. However, if you would like to make an additional gift on top of your monthly gifts to support other Barnardos programs and services please visit the donate section of our website or phone 1800 061 000 and speak to our Supporter Care Team.

Can I visit my Barnardos child?

No, to protect the privacy of the children in our programs you will not be able to visit your Barnardos child.


(* Child Protection Australia AIHW 2011-2012)