Grandparents and grandchild using digital tablet

Centacare is a not-for-profit organisation and is the official community service agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide. Centacare Catholic Family Services deliver responsive and flexible services to the South Australian community.

1. Our program

The Centacare  Foster Care Program is funded by the Department for Child Protection to provide short term, long term and respite foster care for children 0-17. Children who are unable to be placed in kinship care whilst reunification with their birth family is assessed are generally placed on ‘short-term’ orders by the court, with placement lengths ranging between 6-18 months. The Centacare Foster Care Program can also provide long-term specialist, long term general and respite care.

2. Our support

  • Regular support from a Foster Carer Support Worker, at least weekly in first two months, then every two weeks.
  • Access to 24-hour telephone support 7 days a week.
  • Regular support meetings with other carers.
  • Respite care will be agreed and provided as part of a placement agreement. This will be specific to the needs of the child.
  • Training by Centacare and ongoing support by your support worker to complete daily and monthly logs.
  • A unique fostering allowance linked to carers in the reunification program.
  • Access to reading and training materials.
  • Carers will be supported in their role as part of the care team to contribute to case planning.
  • Access to experienced professional expertise such as psychologists.
  • Centacare will support you to maintain your registration as a carer by:
    • Conducting carer consultation sessions
    • Conducting yearly carer reviews
    • Ensuring you are up to date with training and mandatory checks e.g. police checks are updated every 3 years
    • Facilitating placements

Some carers may seek to transfer from an existing provider or seek to return to fostering.  As a specialist foster care program, we are required to complete a full competency and psycho-social assessment focused around specific issues of reunification.

Reunification placements are generally for a period of 6-18 months and are considered to be ‘short-term’ care placements. It is envisaged that after this period of time the child will return to the care of the birth family or will be transferred to long term orders within our Centacare program.

3. Foster Care Allowance

Reunification Carers

Reunification Carers receive a specialist allowance specific to the Centacare Foster Care Program in order to cover most of the additional costs of caring for a foster child on reunification orders.  It is a requirement of the reunification program that the main carer is not in employment or engaged in full-time study. The allowance paid to reunification carers is significantly higher than the general foster carer allowance to reflect this and also to reflect the nature of the specialist foster carer role.

As the main carer in this program needs to be home based, the allowance also includes an element for the care you provide. The current allowance is approx. $892 per week (tax-free) and $1342 per week for two children (tax-free). A health care card and school card (if required) is also provided for the child in your care. The fostering allowance is not deemed to be a wage and therefore does not affect any other benefits that you may be entitled to.

Depending on your own personal circumstances you may still be able to access some Centrelink based payments. Centacare does not provide individual advice on Centrelink payments but can provide a contact person to support you with this. This allowance is only paid whilst a child is in placement.

If you provide respite care overnight for a child in the reunification program, a daily allowance is paid in line with amounts set by the Department for Child Protection. This is currently $120/night tax-free (current at the date of print).

General Carers – Long term, short term and respite

The carer support allowance for children on long term general and short term general orders differ from the the reunification allowance.  This allowance is paid by the Department for Child Protection and vary on a case by case basis depending on the needs of the child(ren).

More information about these Carer Support Payments are available on the Department for Child Protection website here