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How long does it take to become a foster carer?

The good news is, if you’re thinking about foster care, you’ve already started the journey! For many people, it can take months or even years to decide to foster, so we’re glad you’re here. You might not have made your mind up yet but finding out more is the best way to figure out if it’s right for you.

It’s important that you go into your foster care journey with as much information as you can. It’s a good idea to spend some time going through our resources page, reading through our information kit and browsing our FAQs. Sign up for the online information session if you haven’t already (you can watch it any time), and if there’s still things you’re not sure about, you can give us a call on 1300 000 828 and we’ll put you in touch with your local team to answer any questions.

There’s no set timeline for the process of becoming a foster carer – everyone’s journey is unique. But the basic steps of your journey will be all about making sure that kids in care have a safe environment to call home. Here's what that might look like for you:

Join an information session

Start with an information session – some of our service centres may be running in-person events, or you can watch our webinar-style online information session. We think you’re amazing for thinking about foster care, and it’s really important you’re fully informed before you decide to go ahead. Our information sessions can help you get a good idea of how foster care works. Once you’ve attended a session, you’ll have a better understanding of whether fostering is right for you (maybe it’s something you’re not ready for yet, and that’s ok too). 

Get in touch

The next step is really simple, but it’s often the part that people put off because it can feel like you’re making a commitment and that can be a bit daunting. Get in touch with us by filling out our online expression of interest, calling on 1300 000 828 or sending an email to hello@youbeyou.org.au. This is also a good time to ask any questions that might not be covered in the information session. It can seem like a big step to reach out, but getting in touch doesn’t mean that you’re going to have a young person in your spare room by the end of the week!

Interviews

Our priority is to make sure that children and young people in foster care have a safe, stable place to live, so once you’ve got in touch, we’ll start to get to know you. This will include interviews so that we can get an idea of what sort of placements will suit you, e.g. whether you’d like to do respite, emergency or primary care, or whether you have preferences about things like the age and gender of children you’d like to take care of.

Training

Being a foster carer is a bit different to parenting your own children because children in foster care will have gone through trauma or hardship that may not be familiar to you. That’s why you’ll go through mandatory training before you are approved as a carer – we want you to be fully equipped to handle any challenges. Once you’re approved, there will also be ongoing training, and you can choose to do extra training too.

Personal history

You’ll need to undertake background and personal history checks, and apply for a Blue Card.  All adults living in the home must obtain a Blue Card and undergo the same checks. We can support you to fill out the paperwork you need for this, so the process is as easy as possible.

Assessment

When you’re ready, you’ll be reviewed by a foster care assessor. They’ll come to your home and get to know you and your family situation, and how foster care will fit into this. The assessor’s job is to confirm that applicants are in a good place in their lives to provide care, and that they’re able to meet the needs of children. They will submit a report to the foster care panel, who make the final decision on whether to approve foster carers or not. Sometimes the panel may need further information before the approval goes ahead so they may ask you for more information before the decision is made.

So how long does it all take?

The timeframe for the entire approval process can depend on your availability for interviews, how long it takes to do background checks, and a variety of other factors. Usually it will be between 4 and 8 months between application and acceptance, but there isn’t a set timeline.

The process will look different for everyone, but one thing is the same: you’ll have the support of You Be You through the whole process. Whether you need help with paperwork or aren’t sure how to talk to your kids about becoming foster parents, we’ll be able to give you a hand.

Ready to take another step?

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