Become a foster carer

What you need to know to become a foster carer

If you would like to help a child in need foster care is a great way to do it. There are lots of different options for providing foster care, depending on your lifestyle and needs. Baptcare is here to support you from your first call or email. We provide training, answer your questions and offer you ongoing support 24/7. Even if you don’t think you’re ready to become a carer we’re here to talk to you about what’s involved.

Discover the different types of foster care

There are different types of foster care that suit different households. We can help you understand what foster care option is right for you:

  • respite care (for example, one weekend per month)
  • emergency care
  • short term care (3–6 months)
  • longer term care (6 months and more)
  • friends of foster carers (for example, helping other carers with the school run).

You can also note a preference on the age and gender of children that join your household.

Foster carers come from all walks of life

There is no such thing as a typical foster care household.
If you can provide a safe and nurturing environment for a child in need we’d love to talk to you.

Great foster carers come from all types of households, family units and backgrounds:

  • single, married or in de-facto relationships
  • same sex couples
  • working full-time, part-time, shift work, or in the home
  • mums, dads, grandparents or households without children
  • home owners or renters
  • from different cultures and beliefs.

Foster carers are required to be over 21 years of age, have adequate space in their home, have no criminal record, and pass a police and relevant working with vulnerable persons/children check.

Baptcare recruits foster carers from the following communities:

In Tasmania:

  • Statewide

In Victoria:

  • Brimbank Melton, Western Melbourne
  • Hume/ Moreland, North East Melbourne and Barwon
  • We would also be open to enquiries from Loddon, South Melbourne, Bayside Peninsula.

If you live elsewhere in Victoria please visit Fostering Connections or call 1800 013 088 to find a foster care agency in your area.

Guidance and 24/7 support

If you are thinking about becoming a foster carer talk to us. We’ll answer your questions and give you the information you need to decide if this rewarding decision is right for you. We’ll continue to provide guidance, training, and 24/7 support if you need extra help.

The satisfaction of seeing a child improve is amazing

Alan, 47, foster carer & shift worker – Melton

Alan foster carer

Frequently asked questions

What do I need to do to become a foster carer?  How long does it take?

The amount of time it takes to become accredited as a foster carer really depends on your availability but on average it takes between three and six months. You’ll be guided through the process every step of the way. We understand if at any stage you decide foster caring isn’t for you, or the timing just isn’t right - there are no hard feelings.

There are four steps after your first chat to become accredited as a foster carer and be ready for your first placement. As part of this process we’ll talk to you about ensuring you have space in your home for a child.

  1. Meet our recruitment worker.
  2. Attend an information session.
  3. Pass your police and working with children checks.
  4. Attend training sessions and assessment interviews.

More about training:

There are three training sessions as part of the accreditation process. Training is run over two-three sessions varied from weekends to evenings to meet the needs of applicants, they’re designed to support you in your role, answer your questions and help you gain a thorough understanding of what to expect.

How does it work if I have children of my own?

Many of our carers have children of their own and are accredited based on the best fit for their family. We provide training for biological children and parents tell us that fostering has been a wonderful learning experience for the whole family.

Do I meet the child’s parents?

It is rare that a foster carer will meet the child’s parents. In most cases access visits between biological parents and foster children are facilitated by our staff at a mutually convenient time and location. Contact with biological parents is organised and detailed in the child’s case plan. Contact can be organised via Departmental or Baptcare staff as needed and appropriate.

What kind of support or assistance will I receive?

Guidance and training:

You’ll be guided personally through the application process by one of our staff and once accredited, you’ll have 24/7 access to one of our qualified and experienced case managers.
For more information visit the Foster Care Association of Victoria or Foster and Kinship Carers Association of Tasmania

Plus once you become accredited you’ll continue to attend additional training relevant to the needs of the young person you are caring for.

Financial assistance:

Every placement is different but carers do receive a standard carer reimbursement payment. There may be extra allowances depending on the needs of the child. Contact our office for more information.

Do I get a say in the children I foster?

You’re accredited based on the age, gender and type of care you choose to provide and our case workers will always call you to discuss a placement before it goes ahead.

How long, on average, does a child stay with you?

The length of time a child stays with you will depend on your level of accreditation and current circumstances. For example, if you’re accredited to do respite care then a child may stay with you for one weekend a month. If it’s for emergency it could be overnight or longer, depending on your availability.

What happens if I can no longer do the role or need to take a break?

We understand that personal circumstances can change. Sometimes our carers take time off, move interstate or focus on having children of their own. It’s as simple as making a call to your case worker to discuss your needs.

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