What is a short-term foster carer?

Foster care’s primary goal is always to reunite a child with their family when it’s possible, and safe, to do so. Until then many children need short-term out-of-home care with carers who can not only provide a loving home, but also work with the biological family towards a successful reunification. This type of care is also known as restoration care and carers may cooperate with the family to facilitate the child’s safe return. 

If returning to their birth family is not in the child’s best interests, You Be You and Child Safety will look for suitable long-term foster carers, while maintaining contact with their family to help preserve the child’s sense of identity and belonging.

Hear from our short-term carers

Renae and Steven’s story:

“This is by far the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. Seeing the happiness in their faces makes it worthwhile.”

Your first step in becoming a foster carer

Becoming a foster carer is a big commitment. Many established foster carers begin their journey with shorter-term types of foster care, finding their feet as short-term, emergency or respite carers before taking the leap into full-time foster care. Whether it’s during school holidays, for a few months or whole year, short-term foster care can be a great way to experience full-time responsibility without making a long-term commitment.

Family in park

How long does short-term foster care run for?

Short-term foster care placements can run from a few months up to two years. If reunification with the child’s birth family isn’t possible after this period of time, the child or young person will be transitioned into long-term foster care.

Why is short-term care so important?

Short-term foster care is often the first line of care a child receives after they’re removed from their birth parents. During this time of disruption and uncertainty, the short-term foster carer is there to provide a stable, caring environment, allowing the child to experience a loving home before they embark on the next steps of their journey. 

These next steps could be strengthening the child’s relationship with their parents in preparation of reunification. It could also mean helping the child transition to full-time foster care. No matter what the future holds, short-term carers are dedicated to the needs of the child in their care, making sure they have a supportive place to live for the next period of their life.

What’s the difference between short-term and emergency foster care?

Short-term and emergency foster care both provide temporary accommodation to children and young people who cannot live safely with their birth families. The main difference between them is the duration and urgency of the placement. Emergency foster care is for children who need somewhere to stay immediately, for a night or even a few weeks, because there are concerns for their immediate safety. Emergency carers need to be able to provide care at short notice, after hours and on weekends. Short-term foster care can last from a few months to two years, and has a strong focus on reuniting the child with their birth parents or extended family within that time frame. Short-term carers work closely with the child’s case worker and birth family to support the child’s wellbeing and development.

Financial support for short-term carers

For the period that they have care of a child, short-term foster carers are paid the same fortnightly tax-free allowance as their long-term counterparts. This carer allowance is designed to cover everyday items such as food, household provisions, gifts and pocket money. As of January 2023, kinship carers in Queensland are paid a base allowance between $525.56 and $664.16 per fortnight*. When you first become a foster carer, you will be eligible for an establishment allowance, which is designed to cover one-off purchases like clothes and school equipment. 

The amount of financial support you receive depends on the age of the child or young person in your care, with kinship care allowances also increasing annually in line with inflation. If the child in your care requires complex support or has a disability or medical condition, you may be eligible for additional compensation.

We’ve answered the most common questions asked by foster and kinship carers



Man with beard with young boy on his shoulders

Contact Us

Man with beard with young boy on his shoulders