So you’ve made the decision to become a foster carer. Congratulations, it’s often this first step that is most difficult.
Caring for a child in need is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do, so you’re at the beginning of a very satisfying journey.
But with the decision made, what happens next?
As one of South Australia’s leading foster care providers, AnglicareSA is well equipped to support you through the next steps of the process – a three to five month journey including of training, documentation and assessments.
Step 1: Registering your interest in foster care
After your initial enquiry is received you will be sent a website link to watch a short information video online and complete a questionnaire. The questionnaire can also be completed manually on request.
After returning your questionnaire, an assessment worker will be assigned to you to help complete the rest of the assessment process and support you through your whole foster care journey with us.
Step 2: Training
After you’ve registered your interest by watching the information video and returning your questionnaire, your assessment worker will enrol you in foster care training, which is provided free of charge by AnglicareSA.
Topics covered include creating safe environments for children and young people, kid’s safety, caring for infants and first aid. Not all of these topics are mandatory or necessary for all carers and are normally dependent on the foster care preferences you’ve put forward. If you have completed foster care training with another agency, your assessment worker will confirm if you may be exempted from some of this training.
Where possible, the training will take place in-person at one of AnglicareSA’s offices over a few days to a week, although due to COVID-19 the training can also now be delivered remotely if considered appropriate.
Step 3: Documentation
The next step in becoming a foster carer is for your assessment worker to visit your home to complete necessary paperwork. This includes documents such as a ‘Working with Children Check’, as well as providing information about your emotional, mental and physical capacity to foster care.
Details about your home, including a house and yard plan, will need to be provided, as will a family history map which charts your close family and friendship networks, including regular visitors to your home.
All of these contacts should be made aware that you are including their details on the application.
You should be aware that some documentation will need to be completed by all members of your household, as well as regular visitors to your home or support people you have named.
Step 4: Assessment
The fourth and last step is to go through final home checks with your assessment worker. This may happen over a number of visits so they can evaluate how a foster child will fit with your family and to undertake a safety check of your home. Your assessor will also explore the Foster Care Competencies set by the Department of Child Protection.
There may be further home visits that are negotiated with you, and once these are complete, a report and recommendation will be submitted by the assessor to the Department of Child Protection.
The Department’s Carer and Approval Unit (CARU) will then make the final decision on your approval.
What to expect when a child comes into your care
Once approved, you’re ready to take a child into your care. But what can you expect?
It’s difficult to answer that question as every situation and experience is very different. No matter what the situation, we are always there to support you and your family through your foster care journey. This includes regular contact with your AnglicareSA support worker, including a 24-hour telephone support service. We also hold regular events to connect our foster care community to share experience and support each other.
Support levels are also tailored to the type of foster care you’re undertaking (immediate, short-term, respite, permanent or specialist), and the needs of the child you’re caring for.
It’s important to understand that children in foster care may have ongoing emotional and behavioural needs, which may challenge you and your family at times.
It’s likely to be demanding and unpredictable at times, but hugely rewarding. It will make you a more well-rounded person, and incredibly proud at the crucial role you’re playing in the life of a child.
Ready to find out more?
Get in touch for information on how you can change the life of a child.