What is foster care?
Foster care is a frequent response to children and young people who are unable to live with their own families. As a carer, you will provide them a safe and secure home for as long as they need.
Often children can be reunited with their families or parents as circumstances change, so foster and kinship carers assist with the care of the child until this can be achieved. In other cases, some children and young people will remain in foster care until they reach the legal, independent age of 18.
Foster care can range from a weekend to months or years, depending on the circumstances of the child and your own preference in providing care. However, no matter what the length of time is, the positive impact you can have in a child or young person’s life is immeasurable.
If you have the ability and desire to become a foster or kinship carer, learn more about how to become a foster carer.
What is kinship care?
Unlike foster care, where the foster parent may not be known to the child, a kinship carer may be related to the child, considered to be part of the family, or a close friend.
What does a foster carer do?
As a foster or kinship carer, you will provide a safe and supportive home for children or young people. The role may include:
- Communicating and listening.
- Advocating on behalf of the child.
- Supporting their education, extra-curricular activities such as sports, health, and social wellbeing.
- Managing sometimes challenging behaviour.
- Keeping up with paperwork and attending meetings.
- Working as part of a team, including with UnitingCare’s social workers, educators, coaches, friends, parents of the child’s friends, health professionals and the child’s birth family.
Types of foster and kinship care
Children and their families have different needs and come from many different situations. UnitingCare works with foster carers to ensure children and carers have a match for the type of care that works best for them.