Children and young people come into care for as long as needed. This can be from a few days to a few weeks or longer. Generally, this is as the result of a legal order.
Emergency Care is provided for a short period (usually a few days) when children/young people need urgent care to ensure their safety (first entering care) or following a family crisis. Children/young people are placed with carers without the usual planning and often outside of office hours, late at night or on weekends. Little information may be available about the child/young person, and emergency carers help build knowledge about the child/young person, their routines and needs.
Emergency carers need to be prepared to support children/young people who are distressed and confused about their situation and require a high level of patience and calmness.
The period of emergency care may be exceptionally busy for the carer with many appointments and meetings to attend.
During this period, Child Safety may be seeking a family member to care for the child/young person in a kinship placement.
Respite care is provided for children and young people for short periods of time on a regular basis, for example, one weekend a month. Respite placements provide the child/young person and primary carers with a network of support.
Whenever possible, respite carers make a commitment of 12 months so that children and young people can establish a regular routine and get to know the families with whom they usually stay.
It is important that respite carers can support therapeutic strategies from the primary placement to provide consistency and predictability for the child/young person and to assist with transitions to and from the respite placement.
Children/young people may need care for a short period of time (a few days to a few weeks) prior to being reunified with their families or whilst a longer-term care arrangement is being organised. Carers may be asked to attend many appointments, support the child/young person to attend contact visits and to transition school or living arrangements. This can be a difficult time and needs some flexibility and patience to assist children/young people who may be anxious about their families, pets, toys or wanting to return home to their parents.
If children/young people are not able to be reunified with their families, longer term care is provided for children and young people who need a stable, supportive home in which they can feel included and valued. This may be until the circumstances of their families change, or until they exit the out of home care system, generally at 18 years of age.
Specialist therapeutic care involves care for children and young people with high needs, such as disabilities or complex medical or developmental trauma needs. Carers who are experienced in these areas may be asked to take a child/young person with more complex needs.
For more information about becoming a Foster Carer, please contact the:
Foster Care Recruitment Team
Phone: 1800 732 522