As a formal relative, kinship or grandparent carer, you play an important role because you volunteer to raise a child when they are unable to live with their birth parents. Formal relative, kinship and grandparent carers look after more than 16,000 children in Australia (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, pg 49, 2011. Child protection Australia 2009-2010).
As a formal relative, kinship or grandparent carer, you will usually have had the child placed with you by a state or territory child welfare agency, and will be receiving financial help from that agency. Many state or territory agencies also have training courses and other support to help you while you are caring for a child who can’t live with their parents.
Although you may already have, or quickly form, a good relationship with the child, they might have come to live with you all of a sudden and it may have caused you some emotional and financial stress. The Australian Government understands the situation and might be able to help you with things like Family Tax Benefit payments, Parenting Payments and the Foster Child Health Care Card.
As a formal relative, kinship or grandparent carer you will also be able to get other help such as training, advice and information, respite, support groups and local playgroups.
If you came to a private agreement within your family and the child protection department wasn’t involved in deciding the new arrangement, please visit the Informal Grandparent and Other Carers page, as some of the supports for which you may be eligible will be different.
As children who have been removed from their parents by the child protection department are formally under the custody or guardianship of the state or territory Minister for child protection, formal relative, kinship and grandparent carers should always consult with the child’s caseworker when considering support services for the child. Formal carers need to act in line with the approved case plan for counselling and support services for the child or children in their care.
If you require help in your role as a carer, first contact your caseworker, local community services centre or your foster care agency.
Go to National Support and Services for Out-of-Home Carers to find out what all out-of-home carers across Australia may be eligible for. Find the answer to Frequently Asked Questions about Australian Government support.
Choose your state or territory below to find out what additional help you can get based on where you live:
If you don’t have regular access to the internet or a computer, there are other places that you can go to get help:
The Family Relationship Advice Line (1800 050 321) is available from 8am to 8pm Monday to Friday, and 10am to 4pm on Saturday (local time), except national public holidays.
Find a Family Relationship Centre near you
Find a Service to Support Families near you