ACT Together is urgently seeking different types of foster carers in the Canberra region to provide safe and stable homes for children and young people who cannot live with their families. Foster carers are especially needed for children living with a disability, groups of two or more siblings and young people aged 11-15 years.
Why do children and young people need foster care?
There are many children and young people who are unable to live safely with their birth family, due to domestic violence, mental health and drug and alcohol misuse by their family members. Foster care provides a safe, stable home environment for children and young people until they can ideally be reunited with their families. Sometimes, things don’t work out and the child may remain in foster care.
What is the process of becoming a foster carer?
The first step is to call us on 1300 WEFOSTER (1300 933 678) to register your interest in becoming a foster carer. A carer recruitment officer will call you back to discuss the process and send you an information pack via email or the post, if requested. You will also be invited to attend one of our regular information sessions at the ACT Together offices. This information session will provide you with the opportunity to ask questions and talk with an agency worker.
You will also be given an application pack to fill out. Once that has been completed and received by ACT Together a carer recruitment officer will contact you to organise an initial interview. This interview is to establish your suitability and readiness and to discuss further training and assessment interviews.
What types of foster care are there?
This involves care provided for short stays (generally one weekend a month for a commitment of 12 months). It gives families a break and provides a positive experience for the child.
Short-term/crisis care can range from overnight to two years. At the end of short-term/crisis care, the child may return to their family or be placed in long-term care.
Temporary care may be needed because of:
- An emergency such as illness or other family crisis
- Intervention by the ACT Care and Protection services where a child is removed from their parents or family to ensure their safety and well-being.
This is care for children who cannot live with their families and need a permanent foster family. This may lead to permanency options such as adoption or an Enduring Parental Responsibility.
This involves caring for a child (often under 2 years of age) while restoration to the birth family is explored; however if the child is unable to return to their birth family the carers should also be prepared to care for the child permanently.
The primary carer should be available to have up to 12 months minimum leave to stabilise the placement and provide intensive love and nurturing for the child. ACT Together is committed to providing additional training and regular support specifically aimed at carers who care for babies and children who are considered concurrent.
ACT Together support
ACT Together offers a range of support to our foster carers. An ACT Together caseworker will meet with the foster carer regularly to discuss the carer’s well-being and to monitor the placement and the child or young person’s progress. ACT Together provides foster carers with full training and has a dedicated 24 hour on call service in case there is an emergency or carers need support after hours. Foster carers are provided with a care allowance to contribute towards the costs of caring for a child or young person.
Criteria for becoming a foster carer
The following requirements must be met in order to begin an assessment with ACT Together. If you are unsure whether you meet the requirements please feel free to call us on 1300 WEFOSTER.
- Be over 21 years of age for short term care programs, or 25 years of age for permanent care programs.
- Undertake the required medical checks throughout the assessment process.
- Provide acceptable accommodation for the child – this means an adequately sized private bedroom. House safety assessments will be completed.
- If you have undertaken fertility treatment, you must have finished your involvement with a fertility program for a period of time adequate to allow for processing of associated grief and loss.
- You must be prepared to participate in mandatory training, assessment and background checks.
- You must disclose if you have previously applied with other agencies.
- Although you do not need any formal carer qualifications, you do need to possess caring qualities.
- Be a non-smoker - ACT Together only accepts applications from non-smokers and your house must be a smoke free household.
ACT Together will hold a series of foster care information sessions in the ACT. See our information sessions for dates and times.
ACT Together is looking for a range of different types of foster carers in the Canberra region to provide safe and stable homes for children and young people who can no longer live with their birth families. If you would like to speak to someone about becoming a foster carer, please call 1300 WEFOSTER or fill out our online enquiry form.