There is currently a critical need for foster carers and kinship carers in Sydney, Port Stephens, Maitland, Newcastle, and across New South Wales.

With almost 50,000 children across Australia who need care each year, caring for a child or young person is primarily about offering a safe, supportive and nurturing home environment.

Becoming a carer in New South Wales

If you want to be a foster carer or kinship carer in New South Wales, there are some boxes you need to tick.

  • Age

    Foster carers need to be at least 18 years old, with relevant life experience, but ideally 25+.

    Spare room

    A dedicated spare room for a young person in care is required. Siblings (in care) may share a room if it is safe and appropriate to do so. Exceptions may be considered in kinship care.

    Age of your own children

    We know that it is important to be able to meet every child in the household’s needs, and for this reason, we know it is best to match children with carers whose children are older than they are. If you have a child under the age of 18 months, we ask that you wait to start your fostering journey once your youngest child turns 2.

    Residency

    Foster carers need to have the right to live permanently 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.

    Driver’s licence/vehicle

    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.

    Partnership requirements

    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.

    IVF/adoption considerations

    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.

  • Smoking

    We ask foster carers to abstain from smoking inside the home or vehicle when any child is present.

    Health

    Foster carers should be in good physical and emotional health and able to meet the needs of children in their care.

    Shared parenting

    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 the Department of Communities and Justice.

    The NSW Carers Register

    If you apply to be a foster carer in New South Wales 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, regardless of 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?

If you have been thinking about becoming a foster carer, our foster care self-assessment quiz is a great place to start!

Take the quiz
Foster carers Rebecca and Bree
Foster carers Rebecca and Bree

What can I expect as a carer?

Fostering a child in New South Wales with Life Without Barriers means you will receive training, help and support from day one of your journey.

  • Training

    Life Without Barriers will provide you with a range of learning opportunities suited to your own level of experience and the needs of the children and young people 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.

    Support

    Fostering children in New South Wales 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 support for advice and direction in challenging situations.

    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™

    MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ unites 6 to 10 foster and/or kinship carer homes called Satellite Families in a local community called a Constellation, 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.

  • Financial support

    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:

    • Food

    • Clothing and footwear

    • Daily travel expenses

    • Car restraints

    • Gifts

    • Educational expenses

    • Hobbies

    Learn more about supports from the NSW Government

    Carer networking

    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 ask questions, celebrate successes and provide feedback to the Life Without Barriers team.

Got more questions? Get in touch today

You can contact us today and we will come back to you as soon as possible.