See a full job description of a Specialist Foster Carer here. Apply Now

1. Prerequisites of becoming a Specialist Foster Carer


  • Carers must be aged between 25 and 70.


  • Individuals, couples and same sex couples (with or without children).
  • Married/defacto couples must demonstrate that they have been in a stable relationship for a reasonable amount of time.

Applicant Has a Child

  • If a carer has a child, it is best practice that  the age of the child placed must be at least 2 years less than the carer’s child (best practice recommendation). This assists in ensuring that the foster care family can provide the necessary focus on the particular needs of the child in care.


  • Carer must have finished their involvement with a fertility program at least 12 months prior to applying to foster
  • Carer must demonstrate acceptance of their infertility and understanding of the impact on them as an individual and family.


  • A carer’s health (both physical and mental) shall be such as to ensure he or she is able to undertake the task of fostering. For long-term carers, this may involve raising the child to adulthood.

Accommodation and Location

  • Carer must have adequate, safe accommodation for a child.
  • Carer does not need to own their own home.
  • A bedroom must be available for a foster child, siblings can share depending on needs.
  • Carer must live within the Adelaide Metropolitan area.

Religious Beliefs

  • Centacare is the official community service agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.
  • Carers come from a wide range of religious (and non-religious) backgrounds. Centacare believes everyone has the right to be treated with respect and dignity and delivers services without regard for religion, race, culture or economic circumstance.

Involvement With the Agency

  • Carers must be willing to participate in training and the assessment process.
  • Carers must demonstrate a capacity to work with Centacare to meet the changing needs of a child, for example, willingness and ability to communicate with the agency and participate in planning and reviewing of the child’s care.

2. Services overview

Centacare provides assessment and training for foster carers who wish to be part of the Specialist Family Preservation Foster Care Program. There is no cost involved to carers. We work in an open and transparent manner and support potential carers through the assessment process to ensure that foster care is the right decision for you and your family members.

3. Our Process

The process of becoming a foster carer takes approximately 5-7 months from application to approval. However, applicants are encouraged to work through the process at their own pace and each family’s circumstances are different.


Centacare uses a competency-based assessment model called ‘Step by Step’ to assess potential foster carers, this assessment model is endorsed by the Department of Child Protection (DCP). Five competencies are addressed:

  • Providing a Safe Environment
  • Attitudes and Connections
  • Personal Resilience
  • Child-focussed Nurture
  • Working with Others

Face to face assessment sessions explore with the applicant their experiences, knowledge, skills and attitudes to identify evidence to support each competency.


Potential carers are required to undertake:

  • Criminal history check and background screening by DCSI
  • Health check
  • Home safety check
  • Personal references
  • Ex-partner checks where children are involved

As Centacare is a specialist program alongside the competency based assessment a psycho-social summary will be written and presented to an internal panel prior to a recommendation being made to Carer Registration for final approval.


Centacare runs ‘Shared Stories Shared Lives’ training sessions prior to a person’s approval as a foster carer. This is the official training package for foster carers used across South Australia. Shared Stories Shared Lives consists of 9 separate modules of around 2 hours each (18 hrs approximately) and covers issues relating to children in care (e.g. grief, loss, attachment, abuse and trauma). The modules usually take place over two weekend days and one weekday evening session. It is a requirement that carers complete training prior to being approved as a carer.

Other compulsory training includes:

  • Child-safe environments
  • First aid
  • Safe infant care training (if caring for under 2s)
  • Therapeutic Care (once approved).


You can find out more about becoming a specialist foster carer by attending one of our monthly information sessions.  For information about dates, times and venues then please see our Information session page.