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.
It could be overnight, for a month or longer – it all depends on the needs of the child.
Foster care agencies, also known as community service organisations, are funded by the Victorian Government 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.
Become a foster carer
Foster care provides a safe and supportive home for children and young people when they are unable to live with their own families.
All around Victoria, everyday people are opening their hearts and their homes to children and young people who cannot live with their families. But many more foster carers are needed.
Anyone over 21 who can offer a child with a safe and caring environment can apply to become a foster carer. You don’t have to be in a relationship or have a big house – we need carers from all walks of life, backgrounds, ages and experiences.
Victoria’s foster care agencies came together as Fostering Connections in early 2016 to make it easier to find out more about becoming a foster carer.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, visit the Fostering Connections website or call 1800 013 088.
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.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, call 1800 013 088 or visit the Fostering Connections website.
Current foster carers can seek advice and support through the Foster Care Association of Victoria:
- phone (03) 9416 4292
- visit the Foster Care Association of Victoria website
- contact your foster care agency directly (see Foster Care Provider Contacts document below).
- Foster Care Provider Contacts (doc 64.7 KB)
- Foster Care Provider Contacts 2015 - data set (xls 21.5 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