As a foster carer you play an important role because you volunteer to look after and raise children who are unable to live with their birth parents. Foster carers look after more than 16,500 children in Australia who can’t live with their birth parents (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, pg 49, 2011. Child protection Australia 2009-2010).
Caring for vulnerable children and young people is both challenging and rewarding. State and territory governments understand this, and are able to provide services and financial help for foster carers. As a foster carer, the amount of money you receive is based on the needs of the child you are caring for. Sometimes, additional reimbursements are available for major or one-off costs.
Because you are raising a child, you might also be able to get assistance from the Commonwealth Government like Family Tax Benefit or Parenting Payment. The child you are raising will also be able to get a foster child Health Care Card which will help reduce some of the costs of medicines they might need.
As a foster carer you will also be able to get other help such as training, advice and information, respite, support groups and local playgroups.
As foster children are formally under the custody or guardianship of the state or territory Minister for child protection, foster carers should always consult with the child’s caseworker when considering support services for the child. Foster 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 foster carer, first contact your caseworker, foster care agency, local foster care association, or local community services centre.
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