From start to finish, the journey to become a foster carer takes around six months. This page outlines the different steps involved.
Learn about foster care and being a carer
- To decide if foster care is something for you, it is a good idea to learn a little about the roles and responsibilities of a foster carer.
- Foster carers do not have to be rich or have a big house. They need to be able to offer a safe home environment and have the ability to provide a loving, nurturing, and secure relationship with the foster child. Find out more on the who can be a foster carer page.
- To express your interest in being a foster carer please contact us. We can have a chat, answer your questions and send you an information pack to help you make an informed choice about becoming a foster carer.
- At every step of the process, you can decide not to proceed. If you have any concerns, you can discuss them with us.
Information exchange session and meeting the household
After reading the information provided by ac.care and registering your expression of interest in becoming a foster carer by signing the ‘Registration of Interest’ form we will meet with you to:
- discuss the process in detail
- answer your questions
- in addition, meet members of your family/household (if applicable).
Application and checks
The next step involves submitting an application and we will need to carry out checks on you and your family.
- Child-related employment screening clearances through the Department of Human Services for all adults living in the home
- child protection checks (this involves contact with the Department for Child Protection)
- referee checks
- a medical check
- Home Safety check to confirm that your home is safe for children.
Once we receive your application and the mandatory checks are finalised, you will be required to undertake in our two-day Share Stories Shared Lives training.
After the training, we will arrange assessment appointments in your home consisting of four-five conversations that run for approximately 2 hours each.
The fostering assessment helps you make an informed decision and helps us to:
- gain an understanding of your lifestyle and circumstances
- learn more about your affinity and experience with children.
- During these appointments, talking through the issues will help you understand what is involved in being a foster carer and help us place children who best fit with your lifestyle, family and circumstances.
You will need to participate in foster carer training to equip you with the skills needed to provide quality care and provide you with a better understanding of the foster carer role.
We will arrange these training sessions for you. Training includes, but is not limited to, learning about:
- identity and birth family contact
- team work
- grief and loss
- responding to challenging behaviours
- maintaining cultural connections
- foster care in the South Australian context
In addition, you will be required to attend and obtain a:
- Child Safe Environments certificate – all foster carers are mandated notifiers
- Provide First Aid certificate
- In addition, an Infant Safe Training certificate – this two-hour session is only for applicants who want to care for children aged under two.
- Upon completion of paperwork, checks and training, we will discuss the progress of your application.
- If all the information demonstrates your household is suitable for fostering, we will submit an assessment report to the CARU (Carer Assessment & Review Unit) recommending your approval as a foster carer.
- If there are any concerns about your suitability or readiness for fostering at any stage during the assessment, we will discuss these with you in detail and provide you with options as to how to proceed.
- These options may include placing the assessment on hold for a period, or withdrawing the application voluntarily.
- If you do not agree with the options presented, we can support you to have your views included in a final assessment report for the CARU (Carer Assessment Registration Unit) or can provide you with information about their grievance processes.
Approval and placements
- CARU (Carer Assessment & Review Unit) makes decisions regarding the approval or non-approval of carers, and may request additional information to inform these decisions.
- This is a rigorous and thorough process to ensure that children and young people receive the highest standards of care.
- When approved, we will let you know and begins discussions about arranging a suitable placement of a child or children to the home.