Foster with us

Become a foster carer with Churches of Christ Care

It takes a community to raise a child.

Unfortunately in Australia today, there are thousands of children and young people who, for a variety of reasons, are unable to remain living with their own parents. Whether they have been victims of abuse, neglect or a tragic accident involving their parents, these children need safe and nurturing environments to help them find a path to a brighter future. This is often provided by foster carers.

Foster carers play a vital role in transforming young lives. We are always seeking dedicated people who are willing to take on this rewarding role and make a difference for a lifetime.

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Could you be a foster carer?

If you are thinking about becoming a foster carer, there are few questions you might want to ask:

  • Do you enjoy caring for children and young people?
  • Do you want to make a positive difference in a child or young person’s life?
  • Do you have time, energy and enthusiasm for children or young people?
  • Do you have a stable home environment?

If your answer is yes to all questions, then we would like to talk with you about becoming a foster carer. Please register to attend an upcoming information session or register now. and a member of our team will be in touch.

Types of foster care

We understand that not everyone has the ability to provide full-time care to children and young people. Foster carers are able to specify what type of care they wish to provide. These include:

  • Respite care – You care for a child or children, usually for one or two weekends a month, in order to give their full-time foster or kinship carer a break.
  • Emergency – Required when a child requires a placement immediately. Due to the nature of these placements, you may have very little notice before a child is placed with you.
  • Short-term – You may care for a child for a short period of time ranging from a few weeks up to two years. Children requiring this type of placement are usually working towards being returned home to a parent at the end of the foster care placement.
  • Long-term – Children requiring this type of placement are in the long-term care of the department and are unlikely to return home to their family.

Caring for a foster child

What to expect

Being a foster carer is a very special responsibility. Whilst there is no particular model or blueprint required to be a foster carer, it is essential that you relate well to children and can provide a safe and secure home for them. All our prospective carers receive specialised training, and we work closely with you to determine your readiness and suitability for foster care.

Once approved as a foster carer, you are matched with children according to your household’s capacity and the child’s age group, needs and other factors determined at the time of assessment.

Fostering is a rewarding but often challenging journey. The children and young people have all had some kind of adversity in their lives. Helping them overcome these challenges requires a lot of patience, love and consistent care. It is not always easy to build relationships with children or young people who may find it difficult to trust. However, over time, attachments form and the stable home you are able to provide will be the therapeutic environment that helps them to heal, grow and develop. It is incredibly worthwhile when you see and experience positive change in the life of a child or young person.

Support and training available

Your local Churches of Christ Care service will allocate a support worker who visits regularly and offers 24 hour on-call assistance for emergencies. You will receive a monthly newsletter and access to resources, such as books, DVDs and toys. Apart from the initial training, there are ongoing training and development opportunities. Many services also have regular carer support groups and offer social events, such as the Foster and Kinship Care Week events and a Christmas party.

What do I need?

Foster carers need to be in reasonable health, have a safe home for children, and be able to obtain a Blue Card (suitability for working with children check).

The most important requirements for any potential foster carer are the commitment to the care and welfare of children and young people, willingness to work as part of a team and time availability.

Foster carers talk about foster care

Why did I become a foster carer?

"We felt that we had a lot to offer.  We had the room for children and wanted to do something to help kids who are in need."

"We wanted to be able to give children somewhere to come on the weekends where they could enjoy themselves. And we also wanted to feel needed and that we weren’t “past it”.

What has fostering given me?

"Love of the children and the feeling that we are doing something special."

"My husband and I are seniors so, by providing weekend short breaks, we feel that we can offer a 'grandparent experience' to kids in care. And it makes us feel that we have something important to contribute."

What was the impact on my family?

"Even though it has been hard for them to accept new children in the household initially, a lot of communication has helped us to grow as a family. Our own children have learned to be very compassionate towards others."

"My husband and I love having the children on weekends and we know that we are providing respite for the primary carers."

What is it like when children move on?

"We love reunification – love having the children here, helping them, and handing them back to family at the end of this... and the closure that it gives you."

"It can be really sad when children move on, and you do worry about them, but you know that you have had a good input into their lives."

How was the training and support provided by Churches of Christ Care?

"I am very happy with our support worker – we would not be doing it without the support they give us. We enjoy attending the carer support group where there is usually a short training topic."

"We are happy with our case worker. We can always phone-in between visits if there is anything we need. We really enjoy the carer events where we get to meet and talk to other carers."

What are the challenges?

"We have had some children with behavioural issues, which has been challenging.  But we have had support, and training is available to help us understand what is behind the behaviour and how to deal with it."

"The biggest challenge is in gaining the trust of the young people. But with humour and kindness, they usually respond well."

How do I become a foster carer?

The first step to becoming a foster carer with Churches of Christ Care is to call us on 1800 222 273 or register your interest here. You can also book a spot at an information session currently being held in your area. Our team is more than happy to provide you with more details about fostering and guide you through the next steps.

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If you decide that you would like to progress further to becoming a foster carer, Churches of Christ Care will start the application process with you. It involves background checks and interviews with you and personal referees to ensure people who become carers have the skills and capabilities to look after children and young people in their care.

At every step of the way, Churches of Christ Care staff will provide all the training, support and guidance you need to be a foster carer.

Fostering with Churches of Christ Care

  • We are the largest non-government provider of foster care services in Queensland.
  • We provide excellent training and support.
  • We use the Sanctuary program, an international trauma informed model of care.
  • We place children and young people at the centre of all we do.
  • Our foster carers are an integral part of our team.
  • We have services across the State in urban, rural and remote locations.
  • We value diversity in our foster carers.
  • We are a faith-based organisation that provides non-denominational, holistic care.
  • We care for approximately 3,000 children and young people each year.
  • Our foster carers come from a wide range of ages, cultures and backgrounds.
  • Our foster carers are married, single, in a de facto relationship, from the LGBTI community, working full time or stay at home.

Staying connected through culture

Children stay connected to culture through their community and a strong cultural identity helps them to become resilient adults and to cope with life’s joys and sorrows.

When a foster carer opens their heart and home and provides a culturally safe environment it helps Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people to:

  • develop cultural identity
  • build resilience
  • build self esteem
  • improve coping mechanisms
  • maintain trusted cultural connections
  • heals spirits

Supporting culture and connection is a a responsibility we all share. As a foster caring there are many ways you can support cultural connections for  children and young people in your care.  

 

Frequently asked questions

What is foster care?

Foster care provides children and young people aged 0 to 17 years, who cannot live with their families, the opportunity to live in a safe and nurturing home environment.  Depending on the child or young person’s circumstances, they may need to be in foster care for a few nights or for a number of years.

Who can be a foster carer?

Churches of Christ Care provides out of home care to 2,800 children and young people across Queensland with diverse cultures, backgrounds, beliefs and abilities.  As such, we require a similar diversity of carers.  Our carers are married, single, in a de facto relationship, from the LGBTI community, working full-time or stay-at-home.  If you can offer a child a safe and secure home environment, you may be eligible to become a foster carer.

How do I become a foster carer?

The first step is to contact Churches of Christ Care and register for an information session.  Following that, you will participate in an assessment and training period.  Our trained assessors will maintain regular contact with you throughout the process to keep you informed of the progress of the assessment.

How long does it take?

It can take approximately four to six months from the time you make an initial inquiry to being approved to be a foster carer.

Can I choose the child I care for?

It is essential that children and young people receive the care and attention they require from their foster carer.  We therefore seek to match your strengths and skills with the needs of children and young people.

You are able to nominate some key criteria for the child or young person you wish to care for, such as their age and gender.

Our workers will continue to train, support and guide you as you provide care to the children and young people placed with you.

I have my own children, can I still foster?

Yes, foster carers can be childless or have their own children.  So long as you can relate to children and provide a safe and secure home for them, you can be a foster carer.

It is advisable to speak with your children regarding your desire to be a foster carer to understand how they feel about it as it is a decision that will affect everyone in your home.

I’m single, can I foster?

Yes, carers can be single or married, in a same sex relationship or de facto relationship, separated or divorced.

I rent, can I still be a foster carer?

Yes, renters can still be foster carers.  As long as your home can provide a safe place for children and young people, you can be a foster carer. We will work with you to ensure your home is set up for children and young people to live safely with you.

What training do I receive as a carer?

As a foster carer with Churches of Christ Care, you will be provided with comprehensive training to assist you in caring for children. You will receive this training prior to caring and once you begin caring.  The training will assist you to respond to the needs of the children you care for as well as understand departmental processes.

What support do I receive as a carer?

We will work closely with you to ensure you receive the support that you need. You will be:

  • Allocated a dedicated case worker who will visit you regularly as well as speak with you via phone.
  • Able to access our 24-hour support line which operates seven days a week and is available for you to call when needed.
  • Offered education and training activities to assist with behaviour management and other relevant topics.
  • Invited to participate in meetings with the child and a range of people involved in their life including the department, the school (if applicable) and health professionals.
  • Able to access Foster Care Queensland who provide advice and guidance to foster carers across the state.

What checks are carried out?

All carers are required to hold a current Volunteer Blue Card.  As part of your foster carer assessment, criminal and child protection history checks will be conducted.

You may also be required to participate in a health and wellbeing check to ensure that you can physically meet the demands of fostering.

Do I receive financial support?

You will receive financial reimbursement in the form of a carer payment.  The payment is provided to you fortnightly by the Department of Child Safety, Youth and Women and is not considered as income for Centrelink or taxation purposes.

The rate of pay is allocated in consideration of the child's age and the care needs specific to that child.

In addition to the fortnightly reimbursement from the Department, you will also be reimbursed for expenses that are not accounted for by the fortnightly payment.

Find out more about financial support for foster and kinship carers here.

 

What is the difference between fostering and adoption?

The aim of foster care is to help children and young people return home so long as it is safe to do so.  In most instances, their parents are still required to make significant decisions for the child. If a child cannot be returned safely home, then they are placed in the permanent care of the Department who is then able to make decisions for the child.

Adoption requires that the adult caring for the child takes on full parental responsibility for the child with no ongoing financial support provided.

Is there a maximum age for foster carers?

There is no maximum age for a foster carer.  We assess each applicant’s ability to meet the physical and emotional demands of caring for children and young people aged from 0 to 17 years.