24 November 2020 | Important COVID-19 information | Read more

Thank you for your interest in becoming a foster carer with AnglicareSA. We’re here to help you understand what it means to be a foster carer, and what to expect. After viewing the information below, if you decide you’re ready to begin the process, we’ll help you to take the next steps in your journey. 

About AnglicareSA Foster Care Services

AnglicareSA is South Australia’s largest foster care provider. On any given night, we have 450+ children in care across 400 carer households.

We endeavour to match children with foster carers who not only provide care and support, but also promote and nurture the identity of the young people in their care.

Our foster carers matter to us. We celebrate the fact that we have a team of foster carers and staff from different backgrounds and cultures.

Whether it’s a small hand in yours or uncontrollable giggles and smiles, as a foster carer these are the moments that make it worthwhile.

They remind us that we’re doing something profound through loving and guiding a child or young person.

Foster Care in South Australia

Sadly, the number of children in care in South Australia is rising. In June 2006, there were 1,497 children needing foster care – latest figures from 2019 show this has increased to more than 4,000:

  • Every week, around 150 children are in emergency accommodation
  • Around 33% of children are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander (from Office of the Guardian)
  • Almost 30% of children who are registered in state schools have a disability
  • Around 85% of children are on long term orders
  • The gender ratio is almost 50-50

When children and young people cannot remain safely in their homes and must enter foster care, the primary goal is to safely reunite them with their families as soon as possible. If intervention and support with the birth family cannot assure safety for the child, then a long term order will be sought by the Department of Child Protection.

Watch this video to start your journey

In the video below, Jenny and Tina from the AnglicareSA team cover all things foster care — mapping out the journey and process of becoming a foster carer.

Please watch the video before continuing with the next steps in your foster carer application.

Why do children need foster care?

There are multiple grounds for children to be removed from their homes and placed in foster care. Each case is unique and often includes many factors occurring together. Some of the more common reasons include:

  • Severe neglect (67% of cases)
  • Financial stress (66% of cases)
  • Domestic violence (52% of cases)
  • Parental substance abuse (50% of cases)

Other reasons can include:

  • Parental illness
  • Intellectual disability
  • Parental mental health

What can I expect as a foster carer?

A child in foster care may bring:

  • significant and ongoing emotional and behavioural needs;
  • difficulties in forming a secure attachment with a primary caregiver;
  • difficulties with developing relationships with peers;
  • difficulties with social boundaries and normal daily routines;
  • a history of irregular school attendance.

What are the types of foster care?

There are a number of different types of foster care – all of which are just as vital as others:

  • Emergency care – can be overnight or upto two weeks
  • Short term care – two weeks to two years
  • Long term care – up to 18 years of age (and sometimes 21)
  • Respite care – often one weekend per month, one week in school holidays, or just an overnight stay
  • Specialist/therapeutic care – for children and young people with high and complex needs

Preparing for the potential placement of an Aboriginal child 

In South Australia, 33% of children who come into care are Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.

As a child protection system, we try to adhere to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander placement principles, connecting children and young people to kin and culture where possible.

Unfortunately, we still have a large number of Aboriginal children placed with non-Aboriginal families. To meet the cultural needs of Aboriginal children in care, a special part of your assessment will guide you in seeking, sourcing and understanding how to connect to the culture and community of an Aboriginal child. We will help you build confidence in your exploration, as you build competence in your knowledge base.

Part of the assessment will be to demonstrate an existing connection, so we ask that you personally visit Aboriginal services and talk to staff about different services that they offer.

What support does AnglicareSA provide foster carers?

Due to the impacts of Covid-19 on line and interactive training packages have been developed and all training is being provided electronically.

AnglicareSA supports foster care families across the Adelaide metro area, from the Barossa and Clare Valley, through to Victor Harbor and even Kangaroo Island.

We have three regional teams who provide support to our families:

  • Northern support team based at Elizabeth
  • Southern support team based at Christies Beach
  • Central support team based at Hindmarsh

Financial Support

Foster Care is considered to be a ‘voluntary’ endeavour.

Carers receive a non-taxable/non-declarable subsidy payment for providing foster care. The subsidy may increase depending on the needs of the child.

Centrelink entitlements may be available depending on your individual financial situation. All money received is reimbursement for the care of the child and is not viewed as income.

What does the process to become a foster carer involve?

As well as a big heart and open mind, the journey to becoming a foster carer involves a mandatory training, documentation and assessment process.

Training

Most of the mandatory training for foster carer applicants takes place at AnglicareSA’s head office in Hindmarsh. Due to the impacts of COVID-19, we are currently developing online and remote training resources.

All training is provided free of charge. The courses run monthly, and consist of the following:

Shared Lives foster care pre-assessment training

  • Day one and two (run over two full days or four half-day sessions)
  • Day three – half-day of training to be completed once you have completed your face-to-face assessment
  • This may change as we work to deliver interactive online training due to COVID-19

Safe Environments for Children & Young People (mandated notification)

  • One full-day of training (with half-day refresher required every three years)

Building Cultural Competency – online training package to support learning and understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history.

 

Caring for infants (0-2 year olds)

  • Training is offered if you express interest in caring for this age group
  • Two-hour session (with refresher required every two years)

Kid Safe – child safety

  • If considering the care of 0-2 year olds, this half-day training is compulsory and needs to be updated every two years
  • All other carers are strongly encouraged to attend this training

First Aid Training (to be updated every three years)

All training (except first aid) needs to be completed prior to the start of your face-to-face assessment. If you already have a current certificate of any of the training, you do not need to repeat them.

 

Required documentation

Working With Children Check (WWCC)

  • This must be completed by:
    • all members of your household who are over 18 years.
    • any regular visitors that visit your home
    • anyone that you have identified as a support for you as foster carer

Other documents you will need to provide to AnglicareSA at the beginning of your journey into Foster Care include the following:

*Please note; we will supply you with the relevant documentation to collect this information.

  • GP report of emotional, mental and physical capacity to provide foster care
  • House and yard plan of your home (including holiday homes)
  • Family history map – as part of your application, your close networks including regular visitors to your home and extended family members and support networks, will be identified and submitted to the Department for Child Protection for a Child Protection History Check. You will need to inform these individuals that you are submitting their name on your foster carer application.

Assessment

Once training has been completed, an assessment worker will be allocated to you.  The assessment includes the following steps:

  • Initial home visit (paperwork, understanding the fit with your family, official assessment start, home safety checks)
  • Further home visits which will be negotiated with you
  • Evidence-based competencies, as identified by the Department of Child Protection

Once all home visits have been completed, the assessment worker will submit your report, and make a recommendation on behalf of AnglicareSA to the Department of Child Protection. The Department’s Carer Approval and Review Unit (CARU) make the final decision in relation to carer approvals.

The timeframe for completing the compulsory training is up to you and is dependent on your availability to book-in and attend training sessions. Once we begin the face-to-face component of your assessment, the aim is to complete these sessions with you (approx. 8 visits – but each assessment is individual) in maximum 3 – 4 months.

If your life circumstances restrict your capacity to meet on a regular basis to complete the training and assessment requirements, you may need to consider if now is the right time in your life and circumstance to be considering a role in foster care.

 

Thank you for your interest in foster caring with AnglicareSA. We hope all this information has helped you gain a more thorough understanding of foster care and the process to becoming a foster carer. If you feel that now is the right time to continue your journey, please enter your details below. We’ll get in contact with you to take you through the next steps.