There is currently a critical need for more people to become kinship carers and foster carers in South Australia.

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.

Foster care in South Australia

Foster care involves supporting children and young people to live in safe, secure and nurturing environments whilst it is not safe to live with family. This may be for a short time, or a long time. No one situation is the same.

Life Without Barriers is a provider of both foster care and specialist foster care offering a range of care options to meet the unique needs of all children and young people in out-of-home care. Depending on your commitments, family dynamic and lifestyle, different types of care might be most suited to your current situation.

Foster care includes various care options for children and young people of all ages and cultural backgrounds, from emergency care to short-term care, long-term and respite care, with the ultimate goal being for children to return home when it is safe for them to do so.

Specialist foster carers care for children and young people who have more complex needs. This can be due to trauma, abuse and/or disability. Our specialist carers receive additional training and support to equip them to provide the level of care required for children and young people with significant and complex needs.

One innovative support model provided to foster and kinship carers in South Australia is MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™.

MOCKINGBIRD FAMILY™ unites 6 to 10 foster and/or kinship carer homes together. These micro-communities focus on the needs of the children and carers by ensuring carers are skilled, supported and confident in providing the best care for children and young people. This network of support for foster and kinship families also allows them to receive peer support from a community that knows them and has truly walked in their shoes.

Life Without Barriers offers a range of care options, you may be suitable for one or multiple types of care!

Becoming a carer in South Australia

If you are thinking about a foster carer or kinship carer in South Australia, there are some boxes you need to tick.

  • Age

    In South Australia, you need to be at least 25 years old to be considered as a foster carer. The maximum age to apply to foster a young person is 75 years of age.

    Spare room

    A dedicated spare room for the young person in your care is required. Siblings (in care) may share a room if it is considered safe and appropriate to do so. Exceptions may be considered on a case-by-case basis, considering culture and kinship relationships.

    Age of your own children

    We know that being able to meet every child in the household’s needs is important. For young children, this often means a lot of time and physical attention. It is recommended that the children who come into your care are younger than your own.

    If you have a child under the age of 18 months, you may want to consider waiting to start your carer journey until your youngest child turns two. Your individual circumstances and the type of care you are interested in providing will always be taken into consideration to determine your suitability to provide care.

    Residency

    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.

    Driver’s licence/vehicle

    Potential carers should hold a current 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. Carers who do not hold a driver’s licence need to be able to demonstrate they have adequate access to transport that is suitable to meet the needs of a child or young person in their care.

    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. This timeframe is a guide, and exceptions can be made depending on your individual circumstances. Both potential carers will need to be willing participants in the process of becoming a carer and will need to take part in training and assessment.

  • 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 carer journey, or until your youngest child is two years of age.

    Smoking

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

    Health and Wellbeing

    Foster carers and kinship carers should be in good physical and emotional health and able to meet the needs of children in their care. Caring for children and young people who have experienced trauma and loss can add emotional stress to your life, therefore if you have experienced recent trauma or significant loss yourself, we would ask that you wait twelve (12) months before you apply to be a carer. This will ensure you have enough time to process the changes in your life and come to fostering ready and resilient.

    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. It’s important that all parents contribute to the decisions that impact their family dynamics.

    Working With Children Check clearance*

    All applicants and household members over 18 must be eligible for a Working With Children Check Clearance. Life Without Barriers will help you apply for your Working With Children Check as part of the application process.

    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 to assess your suitability.

    Child Protection Check

    All household members and regular guests, aged 16 years and over, are required to undergo a Child Protection Check. This is a review of relevant information about an individual held by the Department for Child Protection.


*What is a Working with Children Check? People working or volunteering with children in South Australia must, by law, have a Working with Children Check. A Working with Children Check is an assessment of whether a person poses an unacceptable risk to children. As part of the process, the Screening Unit will look at criminal history, child protection information and other information.

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?

Providing care for a child or young person in South Australia 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 children in your care. This includes access to a large range of eLearning options on topics such as child development, Therapeutic parenting support, linking with other carers, nurturing and attachment relationships, understanding trauma and stress, and healthy living.

    • CARE: We are committed to ensuring carers and staff support children in a way that creates conditions for positive change.

    • Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI): This evidence-informed model is used to teach staff and carers how to help children handle stress in constructive ways.

    • Family involved: Protecting a child’s first and most enduring relationships.

    Support

    Fostering children in South Australia 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. Also, our specialist staff work with children and carers where additional support is needed.

    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

    • Gifts

    • Educational expenses

    • Hobbies

    • Car restraints

    Learn more

    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 share concerns, celebrate successes and provide feedback to the Life Without Barriers team. Training programs also offer a great way to connect with other carers of varying experience.

Got more questions? Get in touch today

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