5 things to know about becoming a foster carer in Victoria
Thinking about becoming a foster carer but not sure where to start or what you need to know?
Fostering Connections is the state-wide foster care recruitment service. We connect you with a foster care agency in your area and can help you decide whether fostering is right for you.
1. Anyone over the age of 21 can apply to become a foster carer
Foster carers from all backgrounds and walks of life are welcome. Whether you’re single, part of a family, married, young or old, working full or part-time or have children of your own, you can become a foster carer. People from multicultural and multifaith backgrounds as well as LGBTIQ+ people are encouraged to apply.
What matters most is that you are flexible, caring, patient and committed to creating a safe and supportive environment for a child while they can’t live with their family.
2. You don’t need to be an expert or have parenting experience
Not everyone who becomes a foster carer needs to have parenting experience or be an expert in caring for children. This is where the training comes in. All prospective carers receive mandatory foster care training to give you the skills and knowledge you need to get started. Once you become a foster carer, you become part of a care team and are given resources and support from your agency whenever you need it.
You don’t need to be a superhero to be a great foster carer. The most important thing is that you are a caring person, have the child’s best interests at heart and are willing to learn along the way.
3. You choose the type of foster care you want to provide
When you become a foster carer, you have a choice over the length and type of care you provide, as well as the age, gender and number of children for whom you feel comfortable caring. Some foster carers work full-time and may want to foster school age children or foster short term, or some may want to only foster one weekend a month through respite care giving long term foster carers a break. Ultimately it depends on what works best with your lifestyle.
You can also change the type of care you provide at any point and for many carers, once they have taken on a few short-term placements may feel more comfortable taking on long term placements. The choice is all yours.
4. You can stop the recruitment process or say no to a placement at any time
We understand that life happens and that you have other things going on in your life. What a lot of prospective foster carers don’t realise is that you can say no to a foster care placement if it just isn’t the right now and you do not need to always have a child in your care.
Whilst the recruitment process using takes 6-9 months, you can determine how quickly or slowly you want this process to go and if you want to pause the recruitment process at any time. The most important thing is being transparent with your foster care agency about what is happening in your life. At the end of the day, you need to be able to look after yourself first, to be able to best look after a child.
5. The goal of foster care is to reunite the child with their family as soon as it is safe to do so
Foster care involves providing a child with a safe, stable and loving environment while their own family are unable to care for them. The aim is, where possible, to return the child to their parents or family when it is safe and appropriate to do so. Foster carers play an important role in helping children retain a positive connection to their birth family while in foster care.
Want to learn more about family reunification and saying goodbye to a child in your care? Read more here.
Interested in becoming a foster carer?
Foster carers play an important role in supporting children and young people in care to thrive. If you think you can create a caring and supportive environment for a child, then give fostering a go.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, give us a call on 1800 013 088 or enquire online.
Download our information pack here.