15 May 2024

Discover invaluable insights and firsthand advice from foster carers and kinship carers.

Image: Two women sit on a picnic rug with three young boys at a park.

Are you thinking about becoming a foster or kinship carer? It's a big decision, but you're not alone. We talked to some of our experienced foster carers across Australia who have been through it all, and they shared their tips and stories to help you understand what’s involved.

Whether you're feeling curious or ready to take the plunge, the below advice will give you a clear picture of what your carer journey could be like.

Make an informed decision

Sydney foster dads Brodie and John, shared that getting as much information as they could was an important first step that really helped them on their journey.

“Do your research, connect with other foster carers and attend information nights,” said Brodie.

Kaz and Jo agree, highlighting some essential elements to look for when considering different foster care agencies.

"Research agencies and what they offer to their carers,” said Kaz.

"When we were looking for a fostering agency, we looked for support, communication and commitment to be there for us while we were there for those who need our care,” Jo said.

Image: Same-sex female foster carer couple in their forties in the dining room smiling.

Consider your capacity

Jacintha and Eddie, NSW foster carers, shared that it’s important to consider how fostering will fit into your life and family.

"Being a foster carer is the hardest and the most rewarding job you will ever have, and it comes with huge responsibilities."

"Think carefully about where you are now and what type of foster carer you want to be. Consider the impact on yourself and your family whilst also considering the impact you will have on a child or young person," said Jacintha.

Discuss with your support network

Many Life Without Barriers foster carers agree that it takes a village to raise a child, so it is vital to discuss your decision with your family and support networks.

"I would advise anyone considering this path to have lots of conversations with the people they value and respect in their lives," shared Sophiaan, one of our foster carers in Queensland.

Katie, foster carer and Carer Ambassador in Tasmania echoed this statement.

"The first thing to do, and sometimes the hardest thing to do, is have that conversation with your family or with your partner," she said.

"Ask them, ‘Do we want to do this together?’ Because honestly, I just would not have been able to do it without Greg."

Image: Katie has short blonde hair and is sitting in a chair in green pants and a floral top.

Lean on your provider

Minna and Zubin shared that their key piece of advice is to reach out for support when you need it.

“Be open and flexible and know that when challenges arise, you always have your agency on the other end of the phone to call for help.”

Andrea and Colin agree, stressing the importance of using the resources available for carers.

"I'd recommend anyone just starting to remember to use the carer resources available, and really lean on Life Without Barriers, be really honest with them."

One of the most important tips Jenna, Melbourne foster carer, has learnt along the way is always to ask questions. To speak up, say something if you have a question or concern, ask it, or say it – your care team is there to answer all queries or find out the answer for you.

“I really leaned on that support from my care team, especially during my first short-term placement, it was a huge learning curve for me – that support is crucial,” Jenna said.

Support each other

Colleen and Steve, carers in Adelaide, shared that when it comes to the tough times, what has worked for them is that they are able to support each other through it.

"With Colleen and myself, it's good to have a bit of time where you can talk things out," Steve said.

Tania and Vili, Melbourne long-term foster carers, share their sentiment, adding that self-care is also an essential component.

“Be careful to look after yourself. If you just think about them, everything else crumbles apart. I think we did a pretty good job of working together, making sure that everyone was okay,” said Tania.

Enquire today

One thing our carers are unanimous on is to take the plunge and enquire today!

"If you are considering foster caring, I encourage you to go into it with your eyes and heart wide open, “said Sherryn and Veijo.

"If a person has the capacity in their lives to give one of these children a better situation, they should go for it," Trevor and Sandra agreed.

"Just enquire and start the process and who knows where you'll end up – we are so glad we said YES!" said Georgie and Mitch, carers in Tasmania.

Image: Georgie and Mitch, Life Without Barriers foster carers in Tasmania

Becoming a foster carer is a rewarding experience that can make a significant difference in a child's life. If you're considering foster care, you can contact us by phone at 1300 592 227 or email at carers@lwb.org.au. You can also fill out an enquiry form, and we will contact you.

Foster carers play a vital role in nurturing the future of Australia’s children, and your commitment can make a lasting impact!

You can read some of these impactful stories here.

Could you be a foster carer?

Our foster carer self assessment can help

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