Foster carers or foster parents are individuals, couples, and same-sex couples generally aged between 25 and 70 years, either with or without other children. A willingness to contribute to a child’s life and make an important difference to his or her upbringing is paramount, whether it be for long-term care, respite care or supporting the process of reuniting the child with their birth family.
Foster Carer Training and Support
Centacare provides foster parents/carers with extensive training and support to assist in the care of a foster child or children. Importantly, the training equips carers with the necessary skills to support children who have experienced trauma, grief or loss. Foster parents need to be willing to participate in training and the South Australian Government mandated assessment process, and work with Centacare to meet the changing needs of a child in care. A willingness and capacity to communicate with Centacare and participate in planning and reviewing of the child’s care ensures a successful relationship among all parties.
To ensure the stability of the household for the well-being of the foster child, married or defacto couples need to demonstrate that they have been in a stable relationship for a reasonable amount of time. Adequate and safe accommodation must be provided for the foster child in their own bedroom, with siblings sometimes sharing a bedroom depending on the needs of the foster children and the foster family. Foster carers do not need to own their home, but are required to reside within the Adelaide metropolitan area, including the Adelaide Hills, Barossa, Light or Lower North areas in accordance with Centacare’s service area.
Foster Carer Health
During the foster care assessment process, applicant(s) are asked to complete a self-health evaluation which is signed off by the applicant(s)’ general practitioner. The physical and mental health of our foster carers is fundamental to our program to ensure that the task of fostering can be undertaken to the best of our carers’ capability, particularly those with children being cared for through to adulthood in long-term arrangements.
Best practice recommends that foster parents/carers with a child or children already in their home will only be matched with a child who is at least two years younger than the family’s youngest child.
Foster carers who have previously sought treatment for infertility must have finished their involvement with a fertility client at least six months prior to applying to become a foster carer, and demonstrate acceptance of their infertility and understanding of the effect on them as individuals and as a family.
Primary foster parents with children in the short-term reunification program are required to forgo full-time or part-time employment and/or study while a child is in placement. This is due to the level of support required to meet the child’s needs and actively support reunification. Log booking requirements and attendance at care teams meetings, whilst the child is in a reunification placement, is considerable and, as such, an enhanced allowance is paid to the carer to compensate. Long-term carers and respite carers are able to continue with all types of employment that fits with their care commitments.
Primary foster carers with children in the short-term reunification program are required to hold a current driver’s licence.
Respect and Dignity
Centacare is the official community service agency of the Catholic Archdiocese of Adelaide. Foster 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. Foster care services are delivered without regard to religion, race, culture, gender, sexuality or economic circumstance.
Further information about becoming a foster parent and foster carer is available on this website. Please contact Centacare to discuss any questions you have about your unique situation.