Steps to becoming a foster carer

Caring for children unable to live in their family home is a very special and important role, so choosing the right people for the task is essential. The selection process involves child-safe screening checks and a series of interviews, most of which will happen in your own home. These interviews are a way to find out more about you and the individual qualities you can bring to caring.

If you decide you wish to investigate becoming a foster carer further, our recruitment and assessment workers will work with you to answer any of your questions and take the initial steps in an assessment process.

Information session

As part of the initial assessment process, you are invited to attend an information session which is usually conducted in small groups.

Lodge a Registration of Interest Form

The first step to becoming a foster carer is lodging a Registration of Interest form. This information helps us to understand your situation, experience and expectations and the type of foster care you are interested in giving.

Screening process

You will also be asked to complete several screening checks, including:

  • a criminal history check for you and all adults living in the intended home and for anyone that will be in the home regularly
  • a medical check with your regular GP on your physical and emotional capacity to become a carer
  • a child protection check with the Department of Families and Communities.

Reference checks

You will be asked to provide three referees who we can talk with about your lifestyle, relationships and your suitability to become a carer.

Home safety check

A home visit will also be part of the initial application to check if your house is a physically safe environment for children and to meet with the other people who will be living there.

Assessment and orientation

Following the initial screening you will be invited to participate in a further assessment and orientation process.

The assessment is a time to discuss your motivation to become a carer and consider the impact of caring upon you and your family. It is also an opportunity for you to reflect upon your ability to cope with the pressures associated with caring.

Consideration of your parenting skills, experience and affinity with children are important parts of the assessment. However we understand that there is no such thing as the perfect carer and we will work with you to identify the personal qualities you have to offer children and young people.

Home visits

Over several weeks you will be visited at home and you will be asked for information about your background, personal relationships and attitudes to caring.

Home visits are also a chance for us to get to know the other people that live in your house or may visit regularly.

Training and support

You and your family may be encouraged to attend a variety of training activities so that we can provide you with additional information about caring and assist you to understand and care for children with a variety of needs.

Registration with Families SA

If all goes well, following the assessment we will submit a comprehensive report to Families SA Registration and Licensing. Families SA will use this information to determine your suitability to become a carer. They may also ask for further information as part of this process.

Patience and understanding

There is no doubt that the foster care assessment is a very vigorous process. We appreciate your patience and understanding of our responsibility to ensure that children and young people are provided with the highest quality of care.