If you’re thinking about becoming a foster carer you probably have a lot of questions. Here are a few that we are often asked. If you can’t find an answer to your question here, please get in touch to speak to one of our team.
1. Who can become a foster carer?
Anyone can enquiry about becoming a foster carer with us. We work with foster carers who are single, married, co-habiting, divorced, gay, lesbian and heterosexual. We also recruit foster carers from different religious and cultural backgrounds. There are a few requirements we ask for before you can become a foster carer and you can learn more about those on our who can foster page.
2. Can I foster if I have a criminal conviction?
A criminal conviction won’t necessarily stop you from fostering. It depends on your conviction and when it happened. It’s standard for us to check criminal records at an early stage and so you should let us know as soon as you can. Please be open and honest. We keep everything you share with us strictly confidential.
3. What checks are carried out on me and my household?
Any person over the age of 16 living in your home will need to have a Working with Children Check as well as other suitability checks through child protection agencies. You will also need to complete a health questionnaire and have a GP medical exam, provide three personal references, and pass a standard home safety check. You can find out more about what’s involved on our steps to foster page.
4. If I’m the primary foster carer, do other members of the household need to be checked?
We would seek consent from everyone in the household, aged 16 or over, to complete the relevant checks. This is because everyone in your home will have a role to play in your foster child’s life. We see all couples living together as partners in the fostering process, so you will both need to take part in the necessary checks, training and assessments.
5. Could a child I foster share a bedroom with one of my own children?
We will generally only place a child in a home where he or she will have their own bedroom. If they’re part of a young sibling group, they may be able to share with their own brothers or sisters.
6. Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?
Yes, you can work, but we do expect a foster carer to be as available to their foster children as they would be to their own children. You’ll also need to be able to make time for foster support groups and training. It will not be possible to continue with Family Day Care in your home.
7. Can I choose how long I want children and young people to stay with me?
We’ll talk to you about the different types of foster care placements and help you choose which ones might suit you best. It isn’t always possible to know how long a child will need to stay with you, though.
8. Can I choose which age group or sex I would prefer to foster?
Yes, you can. But you’re far more likely to have continuous placements if you are willing to foster children of all ages. In Tasmania we especially need foster carers who can look after groups of brothers and sisters of various ages. We also need carers for children with special needs.
9. How much will I know about the child or young person before they’re placed with me?
We’ll discuss every potential placement with you. It’s always up to you whether to take a young person or sibling group or not. We’ll give you as much information about them as we can to help you make an informed decision. Sometimes we have very little information, especially in an emergency. But we always try to find out as much information as we can, as quickly as we can.
10. Will I be taxed on the fostering allowances I receive?
Foster care allowances don’t count as income, so aren’t taxed. Allowances won’t affect applications for Commonwealth benefits or loan applications, either. You can find out more about specific allowances on our fostering allowances page.