About Foster Care
At CatholicCare Wollongong’s Permanency Support Program (PSP) we’re passionate about children’s wellbeing and their right to have stable, caring families and positive childhoods so they can thrive and reach their full potential.
We’re on a mission to find more people who will make great carers and help turn a child’s life around.
Sometimes children are unable to live with their parents or families and are in need of safe, nurturing care where they are able to heal and flourish. Often these children have experienced trauma. We need carers who can share their homes and lives and make a positive impact on a child's future for a short time or a lifetime.
Our top priorities are to find potential carers willing to care for:
- children in an emergency situation
- children of all ages, especially eight and older
- sibling groups
- children with complex needs
- children from Aboriginal and culturally diverse backgrounds
Perhaps you’re wondering if you and your family could take in a child you don’t know and provide a stable, loving home? Maybe you’ve watched the news and are worried about issues affecting young people and their future? Maybe you’ve asked yourself: what can I do to change things? How can I make a difference to a child or young person?
We’ll help you explore whether becoming a carer is the right path for you and your family. There are different caring roles that suit different families.
Foster carers come from all walks of life and from every cultural background. What matters most is your ability to care for and nurture a child or young person in loving and safe homes as foster parents.
We welcome foster carers who are single, married, separated, de-facto or divorced, from all backgrounds and cultures who meet the following criteria:
- Over 25 years of age
- Have the time and willingness to commit
- Be well and healthy
- Rent or own your own home
- Have a spare bedroom
- With or without children
- Be an Australian citizen or permanent resident
- Willing to undergo background checks
The types of care foster carers provide comes in many different shapes and forms. Some children may only need foster parents’ care for a few nights while other children may need more permanent homes. Therefore, we are on the look-out for a wide range of carers to provide different types of support to meet the unique needs of children in our fostering services program.
Short Term Care Types
Where there are immediate safety concerns for children and young people. This is often needed at short notice including after hours and on weekends. Emergency foster care could be needed for child of any age, including infants, young children, and teens. Emergency fostering is usually for a limited time whilst permanency options and homes are being explored.
Short to Medium Term Care
Lasting from a couple of weeks up to two years until a child can be safely returned home to their family or permanent homes can be found with relatives or other carers. Short-term foster carers play an important role in supporting strong connections with birth families so children can be restored.
Respite or Part-Time Care
Provides a break for carers of family members to re-energise. This may be a regular or occasional weekend or holiday respite. Respite carers also act as important role models and mentors to children and young people.
Long Term Care Types
Relative and Kinship Care
The preferred option where possible is for children and young people to remain with a relative or someone they already know. Living with a relative or close family friend can help protect the important connections a child has to their family, community, and culture.
Long Term Care
Some children in long-term care are not able to return to live with their family. Foster Carers who provide long term care commit to parenting children toward adulthood and provide them with stability and permanency.
Other Care Types
To meet the long-term needs of a child in care, a relative, kinship carer or foster carer may apply to become a guardian through an application to the Children’s Court for a Guardianship order. Guardianship carers offers children stability and permanency while still maintaining ties to their family.
Open adoption can offer long-term stability and permanency for children when returning home is not an option. Through open adoption carers become the child's legal parents and take on all the parental responsibility for the child's upbringing, including supporting connection to birth family and sibling relationships to build their sense of identity and belonging.
We value our carers and understand it can take a team effort to support children who have had challenging experiences that have brought them into care. To assist carers so they feel assured and supported in their roles and for their fostering services, we provide:
- After hours crisis support
- Financial support
- Carers receive a fortnightly tax-free care allowance to pay for the child or young person's day-to day needs. This is not a salary but a financial contribution to cover the living costs of the children in your care.
- Case manager support
- Regular home visits
- Access to psychologist services
- We have a team of specialists who work with children alongside their carers when required.
- For a weekend or on school holidays, children in care may spend time with a respite carer, an opportunity to strengthen social networks while their carers take a short break.
- Carer networking
- Connecting with other fostering carers and shared experience is often one of the best forms of support. That's why we provide our carers with a range of opportunities to meet fellow carers including support groups, events and dinners.
At CatholicCare we provide social and emotional support throughout life’s journey to people in the Illawarra, Shoalhaven, Macarthur and Southern Highland regions.
We work with the whole community by:
• Providing stability and nurturing children’s potential
• Offering specialist support to strengthen relationships
• Working together with families
• Offering support to maintain quality of life and independence
Are you keen to find out more? You can take it one step at a time to decide whether this is the right journey for your family.
Step 1: Call us on 0418 783 956 or email us at email@example.com and we’ll start by conducting an initial inquiry where we ask you some questions. We’ll then send you an information pack.
Step 2: Read the information pack and return the registration of interest form.
Step 3: If you’re suitable and eager to proceed, we’ll make a time to come and meet you and your family and provide application paperwork at an Information Sharing Session (ISS).
Step 4: Send in your application paperwork and we’ll process your background checks. This includes medical, Working With Children Checks (WWCC), police, referee and Community Service checks.
Step 5: Complete introductory Shared Lives training to help you understand more about becoming a carer.
Step 6: If everything’s on track and suitable, we will conduct an assessment which is a series of interviews to determine if you meet the competencies to be a carer.
Step 7: Once the assessment is completed and if you are authorised to become a carer, then we look at carefully matching a child or young person to your family.