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1. Prerequisites for Fostering  & becoming a Centacare Foster Carer


  • Foster carers are generally 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 foster carer has a child, it is a best practice that the age of the fostered child being 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.


  • The foster carer must have finished their involvement with a fertility program at least 6 months prior to applying for fostering a child.
  • The foster carer must demonstrate acceptance of their infertility and understanding of the impact on them as an individual and family.


  • A foster 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 foster carers, this may involve raising the child to adulthood.

Accommodation and Location

  • The foster carer must have adequate, safe accommodation for a child.
  • The foster carer does not need to own their own home.
  • A separate bedroom must be available for a foster child, siblings can share depending on needs.
  • The foster carer must live within the Adelaide Metropolitan area, Adelaide Hills, Barossa, Light or Lower North.

Driver’s Licence

  • The foster carer must hold a current driver’s licence.

Religious Beliefs

  • Centacare is the official community service agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide.
  • Foster carers often 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 to religion, race, culture, or economic circumstance.

Involvement With the Agency

  • Foster carers must be willing to participate in training and the assessment process.
  • Foster 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 Centacare 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 fostering is the right decision for you and your family members.

3. Our Process

The process of becoming a foster carer takes approximately 4-5 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 for Child Protection (DCP). Five competencies are addressed:

  • Providing a Safe Environment
  • Attitudes and Connections
  • Personal Resilience
  • Child-focused 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 Department of Human Services
  • Health check
  • Home safety check
  • Personal references
  • Ex-partner checks where children are involved

As Centacare has a specialised 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 the Carer Approval Review Unit (CARU) for final approval.


Centacare runs ‘Shared Lives’ training sessions prior to a person’s application to become a foster carer. This is the official training package for foster carers used across South Australia. 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 consecutive Saturdays. It is a requirement that carers complete training prior to being approved as a carer.

Other compulsory training includes:

  • Child Safe Environments
  • Provide First Aid
  • Infant Safety training (if caring for children aged 0-2)
  • Aboriginal Cultural Awareness
  • Child Sex Offender Awareness training

Once approved as a carer

  • sPACE (Safety, Playfulness, Acceptance, Curiosity, Empathy based on the Dan Hughes ‘PACE’ model)
  • Therapeutic Crisis Intervention (TCI-F)
  • Log book training

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