thread: How to become a foster carer????

  1. #1
    Lucy in the sky with diamonds.

    Jan 2005
    Funky Town, Vic

    How to become a foster carer????

    I can't stand the thought of kids out there needing a home and somebody to love them. I have always thought about becoming a foster carer, I am going to start making the calls tomorrow.

    Can anyone tell me a little bit more - apart from the requirements I need etc, more like the real side of things. I know it won't be an easy job but any insight from anyone will be much appreciated.


  2. #2
    Jacinta7 Guest

    I can give you advice about fostering, from someone that works at the front end of the system. I work for an organisation that removes children from abusive situations, and places them with foster families. Can I say, we are always crying out for more foster carers, as, unfortunately, there are too many children that need a good home. I suggest you contact a foster care agency in your area. A good way to ease yourself into it, may be to be a respite/emergency carer, which may be for a weekend, etc just to see how you go. You will also need to think about the age group that you want to care for. It can be a very rewarding job, but not without it's challenges. Good luck !!

  3. #3
    Registered User

    Mar 2005


    Lulu2- you're such an angel, good on you, anyone will be darn right lucky to be cared for by you. Good luck sweetie.xx

  4. #4
    BellyBelly Member

    Sep 2004

    All the best with it Lulu. Am sure anyone would be lucky to be looked after by you.

  5. #5
    katanya Guest

    Lulu I am a respite worker on weekends, it would be a great way to start things off. YOu would need a working with children check, a house approval, suitable sleeping arrangements for the child, to have a safe house etc..

    I have worked with many foster parents over the years, and my parents used to foster. I have seen the good and the bad and the inbetween.

    Fostering is a very necessary things, but I do think before you enter into you need to be aware that the support by the agencies is sometimes not what is needed.

    My parents fostered street kids who had offended, we were part of a program that stopped them going into detention centres and offered them a secure home and people who were willing to help them. Our first foster child was great, he was the perfect candidate for a program like this, family was pulling him down, he was super sensitive, he and my mum had a bond, we had him for 8 mths, he got a job, off drugs, doing really well..unfortunately the family pulled him down again afterawhile..he worked through it eventually though
    we had many others most unfortunately ended up reoffending, some saw it like a easy choice instead of detention centre..it was too short a time to re shape someone's programing..great concept..just hard to do

    The positives are: you can impact in someone's life, in a positive way, you can share your home and heart with a child that needs some of that.

    Their behavior and school work may improve as a result.
    Your kids will realise that they are fortunate and that not everyone around has what they have.
    You will meet new people, social workers, other foster parents, will have access to info about parenting..etc..

    Okay the main things I remember as a child, and in my recent work as negative is: the contact with the parents (the department REALLY encourages this) depending on why the child is in care to how regularly and in what environment they see their parents. The child can often react very negatively after seeing their families, because even if they are abusing them, kids still love their real families.
    the lack of support from the department can get you down, the FSO's get swapped around regularly so just when you get to know them..they move on...
    the fact that the department will generally always act in the interest of the natural parent..they say they act in the child's best interest but I have seen it time and time again..squeaky wheels get the oil..

    Alot of the children come with negative behaviours, some of these can be worked through and have positive results quickly, other behaviors may take years and years of work, and sometimes the negative behaviours can stay, and distrupt your family.

    Something else you need to consider is you may have a child that offends, one of our foster kids made friend with the local kids and went on a spree of break and enters, my mum got to know our local police very well in that time..he also stole stuff from us and sold it..

    My best expereince as being a foster sibling:
    we had a young girl whenI was 14 sent to us short term until she was found another placment. they dont usually like the kids to be the same age as your own kids. I was 14 too. This girl had left Kings Cross after her girlfriend died of a herion overdose, she had been working as a prostitute down there. She and I become great friends, and she'd tell me storeis about her work 8-[ I was rather sheltered and naive..anyhow she stayed for about a month..we fought sometimes, but basically got on well..
    the day she left, she wrote me a letter and left it on my bed. She told me in the letter that no one "like me" (I guess she meant nice house, good family) had ever treated her like an equal before and that she would miss me and would never forget us..I showed my mum and we cried for ages about it..We tried to get in contact with her afterwards but weren't able to..I think perhaps just that small impact made everything our family had been through worth it...

    So what I am trying to say is enter it eyes wise open, it will change our life, sometimes in ways you never wanted or expected..but you also may get expereinces you never would have imagined..

    if you have any other questions I'll do my best to answer them!

  6. #6
    Senior Moderator

    Nov 2004


    Since you're in Vic, get into contact with your local DHS, they'll give you the info that you need.

    Best wishes.

  7. #7
    Our castle is now full

    Nov 2004
    Western Australia

    Hi lulu

    We are foster carers and have been for 2 years. We are taking a break from it for now with our lil man arriving (i was just getting too tired) and probably wont be doing it again except to offer brief periods of respite care.

    We found it extremely rewarding yet extremely exhausting at the same time. We have had some fantastic kids come and stay with us, yet like other posters have mentioned they come with all sorts of different behaviours that while understandable can be very difficult to adjust to and adjust your own bios to.

    In terms of finding out how to get started contact DHS in your state...DCD in ours. They will let you know what to do. We had a room set up with 2 beds..however there were times when we had 3 siblings together with another pull out bed in the room. We live on a large rural block so have all the normal kid things like cubby house, trampoline, swingset, basketball hoops etc , not to mention a range in toys ranging from kitchenette toys, babies, book, puzzles etc. We received no specification as to what toys and things were needed..this was just what we had already for our own children. We had several interviews with a social worker working on family history, family support, questions about our marriage, how we function as a family..discipline..fun times etc. They set up various scenarios and wanted to see how we would respond to them in terms of children and their development and behaviours. They also set up an interview with our kids and talked about what it would mean if children came to stay in our house and the positives and negatives of this. They also did background criminal checks and wanted detailed character referees from various people.

    I think the general rule of not taking kids older than your oldest bio is a good one to follow. We generally tried to take kids that were younger than my youngest child however we did have several older children as well. There were some cases that we just had to say no to..for example w were asked to take a 13 year old boy for a school term. We just felt that with 3 young girls this was not in our family's best interests. Our hardest time was when we had a child aged 10 and her younger sister aged 2. My oldest was 10 at the time and the 10 year old little girl staying with us hit, swore, kicked, screamed..my 8 year old became the brunt of her anger with name calling and on one occasion being hit. This was really really hard on my kids....because no amount of explaining to my bios about how hard some childrens lives are and this is why some behaviours are present could excuse the fact that my child was no longer feeling in a safe environment.

    For us we also found that while our interests were on providing a caring and nurturing home for children in need while they needed to be away from home, we found that it also created resentment because our family life was so different to what they had experienced. This was not something we had anticipated. Many children especially older than 7 did not want to leave and were torn between feeling anger and frustration seeing how other children are loved and treated. We felt bad that we created any conflict in these guys little lives just by simply offering a loving home.

    Anyway hope this helps..best of luck on your fostering journey if its one you decide to go ahead with.


  8. #8
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Oct 2003
    Forestville NSW

    wow so much great info!! Dh & I are debating becoming foster carers as we have been asked by a 15 yr old girl whom I have befriended...we have said "no" to her, but it has sparked the debate in us as to our role in society and we would love to care for little ones whose parents aren't able too....

    (btw the reason we have said "no" is she has had 3 foster carers in the past month and has had sexual problems with one in the past and we decided we weren't ready for that, but that I could be a constant in her life, one who would take her shopping *I bought her some shoes* and listen to her & chat with her when she needed someone)

  9. #9
    BellyBelly Life Subscriber

    Nov 2003
    Kilmore Vic


    Like Shannon I have thought about fostering in the past, never really talked to DH about it, and I am not sure I could cope with my own 4 and the demands at the same time. I am thinkning that as our kids get older it is something to consider as I realise it will impact on my kids.

    cheers michelle

  10. #10
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2005
    Dandenong Ranges

    My husband and I fostered for about 18 months about 2 years ago. Unfortunately we had some bad experiences, including the last child (Boy 14 yrs) who hit and threatened to rape our niece. Unfortunately we only found out after we had asked the Foster Agency to place him elsewhere and when we told the family he had gone, what he had done. The reason we had asked him to leave was that he had stolen from us for about the 3rd time and the Agency and DHS were doing nothing about it.

    Before that we had looked after a couple of great kids too. You just need to be prepared for the best and the worst.

  11. #11
    ollyfroggy Guest

    hi just a q do u get 2 say what age u would like 2 foster or they just give u a chlid of any age that needs housing and 2 be cared 4

  12. #12
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2005
    Dandenong Ranges

    Ollyfroggy - you should be able to request an age range.

    My husband and I both worked so we looked after teenagers - probably why we had so many problems. I think looking after young children you could make more of a difference.

  13. #13
    ollyfroggy Guest

    thanks 4 that kelly

  14. #14
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2004
    Cairns QLD

    This is also something that we will be considering once our little ones are a bit older. DH's parents foster kids and have done pretty much all of DH's life. The first coming to stay when he was 3. The do more long term care. The most recent was a boy & a girl from a family where the parents would drug them and the father also let his mates rape the 7yr old girl. Apparently he wasn't getting off on watching them with his wife anymore :fuming: !! They had these 2 for about 8 months and in that time both kids did so well in their school work etc it was amazing.
    The hardest I think they have had was a 3 week old baby girl who was only meant to be a week but stayed till she was 12 weeks. The mother was on drugs. They said giving her back was the hardest thing.
    They have had bad and good. Alot of the kids they get are aged between say 7 & 14. They are often asked to take up to 4 kids at once!
    I think DH would love to foster kids but am glad he has had the expossure to know that its not something to do while your own kids still need so much of your attention.

  15. #15
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2005
    in a house!

    hey guys- after being told we need to go on the ivf program and that our first baby still may be a while away yet has got me thinking.

    I saw an ad in the paper for families desperately needed for kids in our area. I rang and spoke to the lady from the Salvation Army today and she was lovely.

    She has arranged for paperwork etc to be sent out to me for "respite care" which is looking after kids solely on weekends.

    i will be asking for young children- hopefully babies to try and avoid these stories about troubled children and erratic behaviour.

    I would love to hear from anyone else who can give me some advice. Once I am caring for the child- is there any way of pulling out? If it wasnt working out or for whatever reason? i guess thats my biggest worry right now.

  16. #16
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2005

    Danni - Once you qualify for respite care and you are caring for children, you do have the option of saying no. The agency (well I can speak for the one we are dealing with) encourage you to be honest. Good Luck with it, is the agency providing any information & training sessions for you & your dh?

  17. #17
    BellyBelly Member

    Nov 2005
    in a house!

    yeah after i read the info pack, they have training sessions etc

  18. #18
    BellyBelly Member

    Oct 2005

    The training sessions are really important, I have a couple of friends going through a program now and they have said the training has really answered any questions they have had. Hope it all works out for you