Become a life-changer
Say yes to foster care and see how much you can change the life of a child or young person in need.
Right now, there are children and young people out there that could use your help. By opening your home and your heart, and supporting a child or young person when they need it most, you could make a real, positive and lasting difference in their lives.
You could be the one that guides them towards a positive future. You could become a life-changer.
At UnitingCare Queensland, we’re committed to supporting all foster carers throughout their journey in changing the life of a child or young person. We understand the issues and challenges that foster families may face. Through open communication and respect for each other, we’ll work closely with you in your critical and selfless role as you help children and young people reach their full potential.
The decision to care for a child in your home is one of the most important and rewarding decisions you can make. UnitingCare Queensland is here to support and guide you through every stage of your life-changing journey as a foster carer. If you have any questions, require further information or would like to discuss how you can become a life-changer, call us on 1300 554 240. Or alternatively, fill out our Expression of Interest form and one of our team members will be in touch with you.
Together, we can make a real difference.
- What is foster care?
- Steps to becoming a foster carer
- Who can apply to SAY YES to foster care
- Types of foster care
- Kinship care
- Key benefits and rewards
- Stories from our life-changers
- Frequently asked questions
What is foster care?
Foster care is a frequent response to children and young people who are unable to live with their own families.
As a foster carer, you provide out-of-home care for children and young people in need, offering a safe and secure environment for as long as the child needs.
Often children can be reunited with their families or parents as circumstances change, so foster carers help to assist with the care of the child until this can be achieved. In other cases, some children and young people will remain in foster care until they reach the legal, independent age of 18.
Foster care can range from a weekend, months or years depending on the circumstances of the child and your own preference in providing care. However no matter what the length of time is, the positive impact you can have in a child or young person’s life is immeasurable.
Steps to becoming a foster carer
Download a factsheet to read more about the steps in becoming a foster carer.
Who can apply to SAY YES to foster care?
Foster carers and their families are everyday people who volunteer their time and homes to assist in supporting vulnerable children.
You must be:
- 18 years and above
- An Australian citizen or permanent resident
- Eligible to hold a blue card (Working with Children check).
You can be:
- Single, married, de facto or in a same sex relationship
- Renting, buying or own your home
- Working or not working
- From any culture or with a diverse range of life experiences
- A parent, or someone who has a strong interest in helping children and young people
Flexible in age, as long as you have the health, energy, and enthusiasm to foster.
Types of foster care
Children and their families have different needs and come from many different situations. UnitingCare Queenslandworks with foster carers to ensure children and carers have a match for the type of care which works best for them.
Carers provide 24-hour, ongoing, day-to-day care for children for up to two years, while Child Safety work towards reunifying the child with their family. During this time, the carers are actively working with the child, the foster care team and Child Safety to progress the goal of safely returning the child to their family.
Carers commit to providing a safe and stable home with the ongoing care of a child up to 18 years of age.
This involves becoming a carer for a child with complex needs, including medical, behavioural, mental health and disabilities. These carers receive additional training and support from UnitingCare Queensland to help meet the needs of the children.
Short break care
Carers assist other foster carers who are supporting a child 24-hours but require some time away from caring. Carers providing short break care to a child are able to choose when they can provide care, for example on weekends or holiday periods.
Carers are available to provide short-term care at short notice for children who urgently need a place to stay.
Relatives are the preferred resource for children who are unable to live at home with their natural parents or families. Kinship carers are therefore a child’s relative or someone from their close community who take on the carer role. Kinship care enables the child to remain with their extended family or community, maintaining the child’s connection with their family and strengthening those bonds.
Relatives or close community members may be approached for kinship care, or alternatively they can express their interest in providing care for a child that is already in foster care.
Becoming a kinship carer is a significant decision for any family. Being a kinship carer presents specific challenges including needing to redefine what your role is within the family unit, having to defer decision making to Child Safety, possibly having to say “no” to someone close to you due to restrictions based on court orders and sometimes the children’s parents will not be happy that you are caring for their children.
Key benefits and rewards
Becoming a foster carer can be very rewarding. Here are some of the things you may experience while on your journey to changing the life of a child:
- Developing a new and valued relationship
- Providing a safe home for a child
- Using your skills and life experiences for the benefit of others
- Helping children to reach their full potential
- Helping parents to develop new ways of relating to their children
- Enhancing your own skills and knowledge
- Expanding your social and personal contacts
- Enriching your life.
Experienced carers say the rewards far outweigh the challenges, and are most often found in the day-to-day moments that they experience through sharing their lives with children.
Stories from our life-changers
*All names in these stories have been changed for privacy reasons