Foster carers are provided with training and support to become accredited to provide care for children and young people.
Whilst fostering takes dedication, you will be supported every step of the way. Here's how the general process works. It usually takes between three and six months.
Step 1. Connect with the right foster care agency.
When you are ready to get started, you can give us a call on 1800 013 088 or enquire online.
Once you’ve submitted an application, we will connect you with a local foster care agency who will review your application and respond by phone or email within two business days.
Your agency will chat with you about the process of becoming an accredited foster carer and what's expected. This is a good opportunity to decide if the agency you’ve applied with is the right fit for you too.
If you are interested in caring for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children or young people, you will be connected with an Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation. Learn more about caring for Aboriginal children here.
Step 2. Attend a foster care information session.
Many foster care agencies run information sessions either online or in-person. These sessions are a great opportunity to get the details you need, meet other foster carers or support people, and learn about the next steps in your agency’s process. Some foster care agencies can do the same thing for you over a cup of tea in the privacy of your own home.
Find an information session near you.
Step 3. Complete the relevant checks and formal training.
You will have to complete:
- a general health check,
- referee checks (only for the person in the household applying to become a foster carer), and
- checks to confirm your house will make a suitable home.
In addition, you and all adults in the household will have to complete:
- a police check, and
- a Working with Children Check.
Your foster care agency will provide support in completing each of these requirements.
During the assessment process your foster care agency—usually your case worker—will come to visit your home to ensure it’s safe and secure. Together, you will work through all the assessments needed to become a foster carer.
You will also participate in 16 hours of training to help you prepare for the experience of being a foster carer. These training sessions are flexible and offered at various dates and times that suit your schedule.
Step 4. Learn the outcome of your panel review.
Following the completion of your assessment, a report of your training and assessment is sent to an accreditation panel for approval. The panel is made up of staff from your foster care agency and at least one representative from the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing.
Once the panel grants your approval, you will be asked to sign a code of conduct agreement. You will then be an accredited foster carer.
It is a requirement that the safety of the carer's home and environment is monitored regularly through home visits and is formally reviewed annually.
Once you’re an accredited foster carer, your care agency will offer free membership to the Foster Care Association of Victoria (FCAV) who provide additional support for extra training, information and other help if you need it.
Step 5. Prepare for a foster care placement when you're ready.
After you’ve been accredited, your foster care agency will be in touch about a child or young person in your area needing care who has been identified as an appropriate fit for you. This is known as ‘foster care placement’.
The length of time it takes for an agency to get in touch about a potential placement depends on a number of things, including the types of foster care you are accredited to provide, as well as the age-range, genders and number of children you have told the agency you are comfortable caring for.
Remember, you can always let an agency know that you can’t accept a placement when they contact you.
If you are available for placement, your agency will match you with one of their foster care case workers, who is your main contact for information, advice and support while the child or young person is in your care.
Looking for more information?
If you're thinking about applying to become a foster carer, we're always available to provide support, information, and guidance.
Give us a call to chat through your questions on 1800 013 088, or download our information pack, or information pack for carers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.