Why be a carer?
There is currently a critical need to provide foster care in NSW.
With almost 50,000 children across Australia who need care each year, fostering a child is primarily about offering a safe, supportive and nurturing home environment.
Where you live can affect some of the criteria you need to tick off in order to become a carer in your state.
Types of care in New South Wales
Fostering a child in NSW involves supporting children with many different needs and challenges. Different types of care include:
If you want to be a foster carer in NSW, there are some boxes you need to tick.
Foster carers need to be at least 18 years old, with relevant life experience, but ideally 25+.
A dedicated spare room for fostering is required. Siblings (in care) may share if considered safe and appropriate to do so. Exceptions may be considered for kinship and Aboriginal / Torres Strait Islander placements.
Age of your own children
We know that being able to meet every child in the household’s needs is important, and for this reason we know it is best to match children with carers who’s children are older than they are. If you have a child under the age of 18 months, we would ask that you wait to start your fostering journey once your youngest child turns 2.
Foster carers need to have the right to permanently live in Australia This means you need to either be a permanent resident or citizen, or hold a New Zealand citizen with a special class 444 visa.
Foster carers should hold a driver’s licence and have access to a reliable vehicle with comprehensive insurance. Having reliable transport is important to ensure children can access the important networks within their lives.
If you are applying to foster with a partner, you will need to have been in a stable relationship for at least two years. Both potential carers will need to be willing participants in the process of becoming a carer.
If you (or your partner) are pregnant, attempting to fall pregnant or involved in fertility, surrogacy or adoption processes, foster-care applications are not able to proceed at this time. If you have recently completed assisted fertility treatment, we would ask that you wait 12 months to consider starting your fostering journey, or until your youngest child is 2 years of age.
We ask foster carers to abstain from smoking inside the home or vehicle when any child is present.
Foster carers should be in good physical and emotional health and able to meet the needs of children in their care.
If you and an ex-partner currently share parenting responsibility of children, your child’s other parent must be in full agreement with fostering occurring in your home.
Working With Children Check clearance*
All applicants and household members over 18 must be eligible for a Working With Children Check Clearance. A household member is anyone who visits for 21 days, or more, in a year.
National Criminal Record Check clearance
All applicants and household members aged 16 years and older are required by law to undergo a National Police Check. There are some criminal charges that may prevent you from becoming a foster carer, and others that may require further exploration in order to assess your suitability.
Community Services Check
All applicants and household members, aged 16 years and over, are required to undergo a Community Services Check. This is a review of relevant information about an individual held by Department of Communities and Justice.
The NSW Carers Register
If you make an application to be a foster carer in NSW your details will be added to the NSW Carers Register. The register records all carer applicants and approved carer households across the state, and is accessible by all Fostering Agencies and Child Protection authorities.
*What is a Working With Children Check? A WWCC is a legal prerequisite for any person aged 18 or over partaking in child-related work, no matter whether it’s paid or unpaid. It involves a national criminal history check, a review of relevant findings of misconduct and notifications by the NSW Ombudsman.
Could you be a carer?
Take the foster care self-assessment. It only takes minutes to find out if foster care is something you could do.Take the quiz
What can I expect as a carer?
Fostering a child in NSW with Life Without Barriers means you will receive training, help and support from day one of your journey.
Life Without Barriers will provide you with a range of learning opportunities suited to your own level of experience and the needs of children in your care. This includes access to a large range of eLearning options on topics such as child development, understanding trauma and stress, and healthy living.
Fostering children in NSW with Life Without Barriers means you are never alone in your journey. It can be difficult to understand some of the experiences children bring with them, so it’s important that as a carer you feel supported and confident in your role. You will have access to 24/7 on-call support for advice and direction in challenging situations. Also, our specialist staff work with children and carers where additional support is needed.
Aside from the support Life Without Barriers will provide, all NSW Carers can access My Forever Family for advocacy, information and support. Visit them here – My Forever Family
MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ unites 6 to 10 foster and/or kinship carer homes in a local community, supported by an experienced carer who takes on the role of Hub Home Provider.
The Hub Home Provider is an employed team member who supports carers through providing connection, information, training and emotional support.
For the children, the Hub Home is like a grandparent’s house that is familiar and comfortable. Each child is welcomed by the Hub Home Provider for sleepovers and social events, or if there is difficulty at home and the child and/or carers could benefit from a short break.
As a carer you will receive a tax-free allowance to support the individual needs of children placed in your care. Foster carers are volunteers, so this is not considered income and all potential carers need to show they are financially stable when they start their fostering journey. It is important to note that funds provided are for items that the child in your care will need, such as:
- Clothing and footwear
- Daily travel expenses
- Car restraints
- Educational expenses
Talking with other foster carers is sometimes the best form of support. Through regular events and online communities we create opportunities for carers like you to share concerns, celebrate successes and provide feedback to the Life Without Barriers team.
Got more questions? Get in touch today
Life Without Barriers is committed to providing safe, supportive and respectful environments for children, so that they can thrive and be happy.
If you would like to learn more about how to become a foster carer in NSW, our team is ready to answer your questions.
You can contact us today and we will come back to you as soon as possible.