Could I become a foster carer?
Anyone who is over the age of 18 years, is an Australian citizen or Permanent Resident, in good physical and emotional health can apply to become a foster carer.
You can be:
- single, married or in a de facto or same-sex relationship
- renting, buying or own your home
- working or not working
- from any culture and with a diverse range of life experience
- a parent or have a strong interest in helping children and young people.
While there is no such thing as the ‘perfect’ carer, people interested in becoming carers will need some of the following qualities:
- Flexibility and adaptability: be able to learn new things, experience new situations and be prepared to have days that don’t always turn out as you had planned.
- Tolerance and patience: be able to take things one day at a time, and work towards goals while appreciating it may take a long time to get there.
- Perseverance: be able to ‘hang in there’ and appreciate that things often do take a while to change.
- Understanding: be able to put yourself in ‘someone else’s shoes’ and appreciate how a child is feeling or understand the reasons for their behaviour.
CALL FOR ABORIGINAL FOSTER CARERS
One third of children in care are Aboriginal, but there are not enough Aboriginal carers to support them. AbSec is committed to ensuring our children and young people remain connected to community and culture to keep their identity strong and alive.
We need your support!
If you are interested in becoming a carer, please contact AbSec or an Aboriginal Out-of-Home Care agency to discuss next steps.
Aboriginal foster carers play a vital role in the lives of Aboriginal children and young people by raising them in a safe, secure, loving environment that is strongly connected to culture.
An Aboriginal child’s cultural identity is an important part of who they are. Children who are strong in their culture have higher self-esteem, confidence and expectations of what they can achieve.
AbSec’s Aboriginal State-wide Foster Care Support Service (ASFCSS)
AbSec’s Aboriginal Statewide Foster Care Support Service (ASFCSS) aims to improve the information, support and training opportunities for carers of Aboriginal children and young people in NSW.
AbSec provides the Aboriginal State-wide Foster Care Support Service which is a free telephone advice and advocacy service for carers of Aboriginal children and supports our member agencies with Foster Care Recruitment activities including events and promotion.
Working together—valuing Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal foster and kinship carers who care for Aboriginal children and young people and working co-operatively with Aboriginal out-of-home-care (OOHC) agencies, Family and Community Services and other relevant government and non-government agencies to improve the communication, support and training for carers of Aboriginal children and young people.
Client Services—aim to enhance the services we provide by identifying the diverse needs and expectations of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal foster and kinship carers who care for Aboriginal children and young people. We aim ensure that information we provide is comprehensive, accurate, impartial, accessible and up to date.
Outcomes—Support to foster carers and kinship carers is provided when and where needed to enable them to continue caring for Aboriginal children and young people in OOHC. Also, to ensure foster and kinship carers are better trained and skilled to provide quality care for Aboriginal children and young people.
AbSec is committed to providing the following services:
- Maintaining a register of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal foster and kinship carers of Aboriginal children and young people. (Carers can become a member of AbSec by contacting the office on 02 9559 5299)
- Network opportunities for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal foster and kinship carers of Aboriginal children and young people
- Accurate and culturally appropriate needs based training
- Foster care telephone advice line
- Bi-monthly newsletter
- Assistance, advice and support to OOHC agencies about recruitment of carers
- Ongoing evaluation and continual improvement of services offered
- Promoting Aboriginal foster care in general with the aim of increasing carer numbers throughout NSW by participating in local community events, forums and information sessions to promote the need for foster carers and raise awareness.
Carer Support Groups
AbSec values the role a carer plays in the lives of Aboriginal children and young people, ensuring they are raised in a safe, secure, loving environment, connected to culture and community.
Unfortunately AbSec is no longer funded to coordinate and facilitate the carer support groups however we understand the value the carer support groups contribute to a carer’s role.
There are some groups which are self-sustaining. Click here to download information about such carer groups.
Aboriginal Foster Carer Recruitment Manual
The Aboriginal Foster Care Recruitment manual was developed as a guide to assist Aboriginal out-of-home care agencies in the recruitment of Aboriginal foster carers.
Throughout the manual there are ideas and steps to help in the recruitment of foster carers for Aboriginal children in out-of-home care in NSW.
It is now apparent that the recruitment and retention of foster carers requires not only specialist skills and knowledge, but also creativity, flexibility, intuition, empathy, passion, and the engagement of current foster carers in the process.
This guide aims to provide a framework for recruitment efforts, practice wisdom, food for thought, and practical tools for staff whose work involves the recruitment of foster carers. When it works best, foster care recruitment is a whole-of-agency activity that is likely to include chief executive officers, media and communications staff, managers, team leaders, case workers and volunteer foster carers.
The changing nature of technology and the advancement of social media as a means of communication, means Aboriginal out-of-home care agencies need to be innovative and flexible in their approach to recruitment in the 21st century.
Everyone will gain something different from this manual. Promoting foster care is unlike promotions or marketing of any other kind. Foster care will change the lives of the people you recruit, perhaps forever, and for many it will be a big commitment for years of their life.