Foster care is temporary care of children by trained, assessed and accredited foster carers.
Children requiring foster care can be of any age (up to 18 years), and can come from various cultural, religious, and socio-economic backgrounds.
Children are placed in foster care for a range of reasons, and foster care can occur as a result of a court order, or through a voluntary arrangement between the child’s parent and a foster care agency.
Foster care agencies, also known as community service organisations, are funded by the Department of Human Services to operate ‘foster care programs’, including specialist adolescent and therapeutic programs.
Foster care agencies are responsible for supporting foster carers, for meeting the protection and care needs of children in foster care and for working in collaboration with Child Protection and the child’s family to ensure their best interests are met. The role of foster carers and the provision of foster care services are governed in accordance with the objectives, principles and functions of legislation that provides for the protection of all Victorian children; The Children, Youth and Families Act 2005.
Foster carers and foster care agencies have a critical role in caring for some of the state’s most vulnerable children.
Learning more about foster care
As a community we rely heavily on volunteer foster carers. The care and support foster carers provide is invaluable and challenges and changes the lives of some of the State’s most vulnerable children. More foster carers are needed, in 2010-11, 3,067 children required a placement in out-of-home care in Victoria. Foster carers are well supported, receive a carer reimbursement and on-going learning opportunities.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, visit the Foster a Brighter Future website to complete and submit an online enquiry form, call the foster care hotline toll free on 1800 013 088 or contact a local foster care agency.
For current Victorian foster carers
The Foster Care Association of Victoria is the peak body representing foster carers and foster carers converting to permanent care. The Foster Care Association of Victoria offers a Carer Information and Support Service, an independent referral and assistance point for foster carers. To find out more about the Carer Information and Support Service visit the Foster Care Association of Victoria website to complete and submit an online enquiry form or call the helpline service on 9416 4292.
- Foster Care Provider Contacts (doc 150.5 KB)
- Foster Care Provider Contacts 2013 - data set (xls 67.0 KB)
- Foster Care Association of Victoria
- Foster a Brighter Future
- Commonwealth Department of Human Services - support for non-parent carers
- Commonwealth Department of Families, Housing and Community Services and Indigenous Affairs - families and children
- Family Relationships Online - online resource for carers