Foster carer manual brochure in A4.indd by AttFarrell


									                 Change a child’s                                                     Change your own
  foster care    life…
                                                      This is what children in        This is what foster carers have to say about their role.

information                                           foster care think about
                                                      what their foster carers
                                                                                      •   I’m a stay-at-home mum and when my own children left
                                                                                          home the house was empty. Having foster children has
for people                                            have meant to them…
                                                                                          filled that gap for me. Before marrying I trained as a nurse.
                                                                                          I’m just one of those caring people and this is what I’m
thinking about                                                                            good at. I also enjoy the support groups and getting to
                                                                                          know other foster carers. There has to be something in it
becoming                                                                                  for me so I can keep going for the kids.

foster carers                                                                         •   I’m a single mum — my own two children are 9 and 11.
                                                                                          Two years ago we added Paul and Tamra to our family. We
                 •   I didn’t like adults, didn’t trust them. Then Tom and Sarah          have become a very busy household with me working and
                     came along, they listened to me and didn’t get angry with            juggling sport and the children’s interests but I wouldn’t
                     me for being angry. They showed me the good part of                  have it any other way — they have certainly enriched our
                     adults. Now I want to be like them.                                  lives.

                 •   I feel very lucky to be able to say my life in a foster family   •   We met Tom and Lisa through fostering. We are now
                     was great . There were rules and we didn’t always see eye            great friends and have made other friends through
                     to eye — but I went on family holidays, I had good food,             fostering. We have extended our family by two.
                     nice clothes, and best of all I felt like I belonged. I had a        We would have another if we had the space.
                     family.                                                              We enjoy the extended family networks and the support
                                                                                          we give each other makes the task much easier. We are
                 •   The teachers didn’t like me. Nobody liked me, and then               able to “share the
                     Mark and Laura came along. They talked to the teachers               care”. Fostering has
                     and I didn’t have to change schools. They helped me with             given us a real purpose
                     my homework and to learn to play basketball.                         in life.
                     Now I’ve got friends at school, I don’t have to move and I
                     can stay with Mark and Laura forever.
Foster care is all                                                                                                           Becoming a
                                                                   Always needed                                             foster carer
                                                                                                                             To become a registered foster carer takes time. Don’t feel
Foster care (or alternative care) is a community service for       This information leaflet is designed to help you make
                                                                                                                             overwhelmed by the process and paperwork: we’ll be there
children and their families. Families in the community provide     the decision to become a foster carer.
                                                                                                                             beside you to work through it.
a home for children unable to live with their own family for a
                                                                   In South Australia there is a significant need for
period of time.                                                                                                              Send back your application
                                                                   foster carers.
                                                                                                                             You have taken the first step by making an enquiry. If you are
The goal of foster care is for children to have close, caring
                                                                   Currently the number of children who are unable to        still interested in applying to become a carer after reading this
relationships that meet their needs until they can return home.
                                                                   remain in their family home due to safety concerns,       pamphlet, send us back the Foster Family application form
                                                                   exceeds the number of foster carers registered to         included with this booklet. When we receive this application,
The role of a foster carer
                                                                   provide care for them.                                    our assessment worker will contact you.

The foster carer’s role is to provide a secure, stable, safe and                                                             First contact
positive environment that caters for the physical and emotional
                                                                   It doesn’t have to be full time
needs of young people in care.                                                                                               Our assessment worker will be in touch to explain the process.
                                                                   If you are willing to become a foster carer you may       The next step will include a visit to your home to complete the
Foster carers                                                      assist a child or children by providing care on a short   required checks, (such as police, welfare, health, references,
                                                                   term basis, or by providing a family home for a child     accommodation) and for us to begin to get to know you and
•    Help children and young people who have suffered abuse
                                                                   or children over many years, assisting them to grow       your family. There will be more visits to your home, including
     feel safe and supported
                                                                   and develop. Over the page, you will find different       an assessment interview.
•    Help children and young people maintain positive              types of foster care listed.
     relationships with their families
                                                                                                                             You will be required to attend a number of training sessions
•    Ensure children and young people have good food, warm
                                                                                                                             to become familiar with the needs of children in care and the
     clothes and a clean and safe home
                                                                                                                             Alternative care system. Once registered as a foster carer there
•    Help children in care get appropriate medical treatment                                                                 will be further learning about the needs of children in your
                                                                                                                             care, including attending ongoing training and support groups.
•    Help children in care behave and communicate positively
                                                                                                                             What do police and welfare checks
•    Help children and young people in care feel valued,
     respected and listened to as individuals
                                                                                                                             We are required to police and welfare check all people over
•    Help children and young people have a positive experience
                                                                                                                             18 years of age residing in your home. An adverse finding
     of education
                                                                                                                             does not automatically disqualify you or a family member from
                                                                                                                             becoming part of a foster family. However, any adverse findings
                                                                                                                             that affect your ability to care for a child safely will mean we
                                                                                                                             may not be able to proceed with your application.
  Different kinds of foster care                                                                                                         Who can become a
                                                                                                                                         foster carer?
Foster carers can be registered for different kinds of foster care.   Temporary care                                                     Foster carers and their homes come in all sorts of shapes and
A carer can be approved for a maximum of three children in                                                                               sizes.
                                                                      Temporary care is short-term care required from two weeks
care at one time.                                                     through to two years. At the end of temporary care a child or      •    Some facts to consider for your application:
                                                                      young person may return to their family or be placed in long
No matter what the type of foster care provided, the best
                                                                      term care.
                                                                                                                                         •    Carers can be aged between 25 and 70 years of age
possible connection between a child or young person
and their birth family is maintained through regular                                                                                     •    Carers can be single, married couples or partners with or
contact and access.
                                                                      Long term care                                                          without children.
                                                                      Is care for children and young people who need a family until
The carer assessment will consider how each of the types of           their own family circumstances change or they turn 18.             •    Carers with their own children will be recommended
care will match a foster family household.                                                                                                    to have children placed with them younger than the
                                                                      Specialised foster care                                                 youngest child in the household. (Research has shown
Some of the different kinds of care are:
                                                                      provides a healing environment for children with complex                this helps to ensure the foster care family can provide the

                                                                      needs. Specialised foster care is for children aged 8–12 years.         necessary focus on the particular needs of a child in care.)
Respite care
                                                                      Foster carers providing this type of care receive a higher level   •    You will need to demonstrate physical and mental health
Usually takes place on weekends or school holidays. Carers
                                                                      of training support and reimbursement. Youth workers and                is able to cope with the stresses of fostering.
provide planned regular respite breaks for foster families.
                                                                      therapists are added supports for the children.
Respite is based on the child’s needs and interests.
                                                                                                                                         •    Applicants will need to demonstrate they are in receipt of
                                                                      Special Youth Care homes                                                an income (may be Centrelink) and not dependent on the
Emergency care
                                                                      Special youth care homes are for adolescents. The homes are in          foster care subsidy.
May be an overnight stay — or may be up to two weeks.
                                                                      the community, and the foster carer lives in the young person’s
Placements may be needed at any time during the week,                                                                                    •    Potential carers will need to demonstrate they have safe
                                                                      home and helps them to learn life skills so they can make the
weeknights or weekends.                                                                                                                       accommodation with adequate space for a child in care. A
                                                                      transition to independent living.
                                                                                                                                              bedroom must be available to a foster child which can be
                                                                                                                                              shared if appopriate to a child’s needs. Applicants do not
                                                                      Break Away
                                                                                                                                              need to own their own home.
                                                                      Break Away is a weekend respite programme for children
                                                                      in care. Foster carers live in the Break Away house for one        •    Applicants must demonstrate an ability to undertake the
                                                                      weekend a month and assist with activities and general duties.          special responsibilites involved in caring for a foster child.
                                                                      Children in the Break Away house get a chance to do new and
                                                                      fun activities.

                                                                                          foster care
Deciding to become a foster carer
                                                                                                                                         foster care
Deciding to become a foster carer is an important step that   Foster carers are paid a subsidy to help with the expenses
will affect all members of your household. There has been     of providing care for children. This includes such household
                                                                                                                             Anglicare SA and alternative (foster) care
a list of questions listed below for you and your family to   expenses as food, electricity, gas, fuel, telephone calls,
discuss.                                                      schooling, gifts for the child and entertainment.              Anglicare SA has been providing alternative care services since
                                                                                                                             1997 in South Australia. Alternative care services are funded
•   Why do I/we want to become a foster carer?                The subsidy is not considered an income and is non
                                                                                                                             by the State Department of Families SA. Anglicare works in a
                                                              taxable. It is paid on a fortnightly basis directly into the
•   What do I/we have to offer a child?                                                                                      partnership model with Families SA to provide Alternative care
                                                              carers bank account. The subsidy does not affect any
•   How does each family member feel about fostering          Centrelink payments.
                                                                                                                             Alternative care is a program of Anglicare’s Family &
•   Can I/we listen to children’s bad experiences without     In addition Families SA pays an education grant to foster
                                                                                                                             Community Development Department, and it includes:
    judging their parents?                                    carers each term, to assist with education expenses.
                                                                                                                             •    Recruitment, assessment & training of foster care
•   Can our home take in another child/young person           If the child has been assessed as having a higher level of
    without upsetting our home life?                          need there will be a higher level of subsidy paid based on
                                                              the assessment.                                                •    Placement of children and young people in care
•   Can I we respect confidential information we will be
    given about the child/ young person?                      Specialised foster carers will be paid a higher level of       •    Placement support for
                                                              loading in recognition of the higher levels of need of              foster carers, including
•   Can I/we ask for help?                                    children involved.                                                  group work

                                                                                                                             •    After hours placement
                                                                                                                                  and support
                                                                                                    Foster carers
                        Being a foster carer is                                                                              •    Specialised foster care
                                                                                        are never on their own.
                       demanding but is very                                                                                      programs
                                                                                             Carers are part of a
              rewarding — and worth every
                                                                                       team that includes social             •    Specialist Adolescent
                effort. There is nothing more
                                                                                            workers, therapists,                  placement & programs
               rewarding than seeing a child
                                                                                         teachers, doctors, birth
                  or young person grow and
                                                                                              parents, and other
              develop while they are in your                                                                                   
                  care. It is also rewarding to
              see a child return to their own                                                                                                  tel (08) 8256 2185
               family should they be able to
              care for their child themselves

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