What supports are available for foster carers?

22/11/2019

Foster carers play a pivotal role in the lives of children in foster care. The love, support and help for children in care to feel safe and comfortable in their new home is a big responsibility for a carer. So it makes sense that for you to give your very best to this role, you need to be supported. 

The level of support you need as a carer will change over time and will depend on factors such as your level of experience and confidence and the particular needs of the child in your care.

Let’s talk about the types of supports that are available to foster carers in Queensland, including regular ongoing support, training and development, financial and respite.

Regular ongoing support

When you become a foster carer, you are linked to a foster and kinship care agency, such as You Be You, empowered by Anglicare. The care agency is the main provider of formal support to carers.

This support includes:

  • Information about your role and how we can assist you
  • Ongoing mandatory and advanced training
  • Access to local support groups and get-togethers with other foster carers in your area
  • 24/7 crisis telephone support
  • Face-to-face support via home visits
  • Phone and email support
  • Access to a Cultural Support Worker if you have Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander children in your care

Your foster and kinship care agency will work with you to develop a learning plan specifically for your learning needs. For foster carers, the learning plan will also form part of the Foster Carer Agreement, and for kinship carers in the Placement Agreement for the child.

Training and development support

The Department of Child Safety offer training and development opportunities through the Quality Care: Foster Care Training package, as well as a wide-range of additional training modules. There are many options for how these are delivered, for example if you are working, you could complete self-paced online learning or maybe you prefer to be part of a small group training session, where you can ask questions as you go. 

Financial support

  • Carer allowances and reimbursements of child-related costs are available through the Department of Child Safety. 
  • Fortnightly carer payments as of January 2019 range from $493.36 to $577.64 per fortnight, depending on the age of the child.
  • Other payments may include establishment allowances, start-up/outfitting allowance and High Support Needs Allowance (HSWA).
  • You will also have automatic entitlement to a Carer Business Discount Card. This entitles eligible carers to a range of discounts on home appliances, automotive and transport, food, accommodation, recreation and leisure. 

Respite support

Respite is a good way for you take a short break to refocus and recharge so you are at your best when you care. This support is also available if you have other commitments, such as a planned trip to visit relatives overseas. 

  • Respite can be from as little as a few hours, a day, a night, weekend or as part of the school holidays.
  • Respite support can take many forms including:
    • Short-term care with another approved carer
    • The child returning home for family contact
    • Staying with friends, recreation camps, vacation care
    • Babysitting arrangements

We’re in this together

For more information on becoming a foster carer and how we will take the foster care journey with you, download our You Be You Foster Care Information Kit.

If you’re keen to explore the support available to foster carers in greater detail, visit the Department of Child Safety website.

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