Everything you need to know about foster and kinship care

Many people have questions about the requirements to be a foster parent, or kinship care requirements. Read on to find answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about foster and kinship care.

  • What are the requirements to be a foster carer?

    Foster carers and their families are everyday people who volunteer their time and homes to assist in supporting vulnerable children.

    To be a foster carer you must be:

    • 18 years and above.
    • An Australian citizen or permanent resident.
    • Eligible to hold a blue card (Working with Children check).

    We welcome:

    • Individuals and couples of any gender or sexuality.
    • People with or without children of their own.
    • All cultures, religions and non-religious backgrounds.
    • Home owners or people who are renting (size of home unimportant).
    • People working full-time, part-time or who are retired.

    Foster carers come from all walks of life. As long as you have the energy and enthusiasm to care for and nurture a child in your home, you could be a foster carer. This is what matters and is most important to us.

    Learn more on our Foster care training and support page.

  • Do you need to be a stay-at-home parent to foster care?

    No, you do not need to be a stay-at-home parent. You will need to have a plan for times you are working/away from the home, just like you would for your own child.

  • How long does the application process take and what is involved?

    The application process can take up to six months, beginning with an information session, followed by training, checks and assessments. Find out more about what’s involved on our How to become a foster carer page.

  • How are foster carers matched with children?

    Each child is matched to an approved foster carer based on a range of criteria that aims to promote stability and long-lasting relationships. All foster families receive ongoing support and training to maintain their capacity to care and assist them to meet the changing needs of the child in their care.

  • Who can foster carers call for emergency assistance?

    UnitingCare provides an after-hours on-call service from 5pm-9am weekdays and 24/7 on weekends and public holidays. Carers can contact this service to receive support, advice and to report matters.

  • Why is it important for a child to maintain contact with their family?

    The relationships that children in care have with their families can be complex. However, it is important to remember that they are family regardless. Where possible, family contact can contribute to a child’s sense of self and is also important when working towards reunifying a child with their family.

    Contact can include phone calls, letters, emails, and face-to-face contact, depending on what Child Safety deems appropriate and safe for the child. As a carer, you may be asked to participate in transporting a child to family contact arrangements.

  • Do foster carers receive financial support?

    A fortnightly caring allowance is provided by the Queensland Government to foster carers to help meet the day-to-day costs of caring. The allowance is not an income or wage for providing care. Depending on individual circumstances, carers may also be entitled to access additional support via Centrelink.

  • Do I need a spare bedroom?

    It is not a requirement to have a spare bedroom but depends on the age of the child and the situation. For instance, younger children may prefer to share bedrooms, while older children might not.

  • Can I take a child in my care on holidays?

    Carers can travel with a child in their care anywhere within Queensland via non-air travel without prior approval from Child Safety. You should always notify your Child Safety Officer about any overnight travel. Any travel arrangements made should not interfere with family contact or other parts of a child’s routine, such as schooling. All interstate or overseas travel will require permission from Child Safety. You will need to allow plenty of time for approvals to be processed.

  • Will I get a break?

    Some carers may find that providing ongoing care for a child who has experienced trauma can at times be demanding and, in some cases, carers may need a break. There are options to support carers, such a short break care that can be provided as a one-off or as a regular part of the care management of a child.

  • Can children change schools?

    It is important for children who are coming into care that much of their familiar environment is maintained. A change of school is a decision that usually remains with the child’s guardian, therefore any requests for a change of school needs to be approved by Child Safety prior to enrolment.

  • Will children arrive with any belongings?

    Some children will arrive with their own belongings, but others may not. We encourage carers to have basic personal care supplies, such as toothbrushes, deodorant, and soap, available for children when they first enter your home. You will also need to purchase necessities for your child in care, as well as any items that may help them to settle into your home more smoothly, for example items to personalise their bedroom or schooling needs.

  • What types of supports can I receive?

    UnitingCare offers a range of possible supports for you and your foster child, such as:

    • Youth workers.
    • 24/7 after-hours carer telephone support line.
    • Carer support/social groups.
    • Special carer and foster children events held throughout the year.
    • Free online training.
    • Free face-to-face training (e.g., Therapeutic Crisis Intervention for Families).
    • Monthly home visits from your placement worker.

    Your placement worker will support you in your daily foster carer journey and source any additional needs that you and your foster child may have.

    Learn more on our Foster care training and support page.

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If you have any questions, require further information, or would like to discuss how you can become a life-changer, call us on 1300 554 240. Or fill out the form below and one of our team members will be in touch with you.

Become a life-changer

Say yes to foster care and see how you can change the life of a child or young person in need. Discover the types of foster care, the steps to becoming a foster carer, how we support you, and browse our frequently asked questions.