What is Foster care?

Foster care provides a secure and safe home for children who can’t live at home with their parents or family. It is also called Out of Home Care (OOHC), and this name covers all types of foster care. Find out more in our glossary.

As a foster carer you can choose whether you would like to provide immediate, interim or long-term care. Foster carers may also consider guardianship or open adoption from care.  Whatever you choose to do, your commitment will be valued.

Becoming a foster carer also means working as part of a team and upholding the legal requirements to keep the child safe.  A carer needs to be prepared to commit to meeting all of a child’s needs and be child-focused when making decisions.

When you apply to become a carer, you’ll be asked what type of care you are seeking and able to provide.  You might not be sure at this stage and that’s okay.  You can discuss this with your agency in more detail as you go through the process.

Why do children come into care?

Over the years, there has been a significant increase in the number of children and young people placed in Out of Home Care.  In NSW, there are almost 20,000 children in Out of Home Care and over 60 children and young people entering care every week.

Children and young people need out-of-home care for all sorts of reasons:

  • abuse and/or neglect
  • parental illness including mental illness
  • lack of family supports
  • disability or family crisis

Whatever the reason, these children all need safe and caring environments for however long it takes to determine the best placement for them.

Children can come into foster care at all ages and they all need suitable people to care for them. Some children will stay in care for a few weeks or months, until it is safe for them to return to their family.  Some children may not be able to return home and will need committed people to care for them until they are 18 years old and beyond, whether through guardianship, open adoption or long-term foster care. The Safe Home For Life Reforms emphasise the need for stability and permanence for all children who are in care.

Enquire today! Begin the journey to becoming a foster carer or adoptive parent.