About foster care
Lutheran Community Care highly values the critical role of foster carers and the contributions that their friends and families make to the nurture of children and young people. We recognise that children belong and thrive in families and foster carers provide stable, supportive and nurturing homes to help children feel safe and secure while separated from their birth parents and siblings.
For an introduction to foster care, watch our About Foster Care film and hear some of our carers share their stories about fostering. We hope they inspire you to consider fostering or to take the next step if you've been thinking about fostering for a while.
When children and young people are unable to live with their birth family or relatives, Lutheran Community Care Foster Care Services and other foster care agencies rely on foster carers to provide safe and caring homes for these children to live.
Carers are everyday members of the community who have a strong commitment to helping others, especially children. Unfortunately, our community needs more everyday people who are able to offer caring homes to children and young people who cannot live with their birth families. Foster carers help children feel safe and secure while separated from their birth parents.
When foster carers invite children or young people in need to be a part of their family, whether that's for a short time or a long time, it has the potential to be life changing; for both the carers and the children. Fostering is both challenging and rewarding. Carers provide emotional support and care for a child's day-to-day needs and support the child in their educational and recreational activities.
While foster carers come from all walks of life, they have one significant quality in common - a generous heart to provide vulnerable children and young people in need a safe and nurturing home.
Foster care is child focused
Children are at the centre of the child protection system in South Australia.
Foster Carers, Agency Support Workers and Social Workers who work on behalf of the Department for Child Protection actively participate in the Care Team to ensure that any decision which is made on behalf of the child is in the best interests of the child.
Carers work with the child's case worker as part of the Care Team to achieve the set goal or plan for the child.
Support for foster carers
Every foster carer at Lutheran Community Care is allocated a dedicated Foster Care Case Worker (support worker) who supports them in their fostering journey.
Lutheran Community Care support workers journey with our foster carers to provide practical assistance or a listening ear. Support workers can also advocate on behalf of the foster carer for training, resources or access to support services.
We also provide a 24/7 telephone line dedicated to our foster carers, so there is always someone from Lutheran Community Care at the other end of the phone to provide support, advice or assistance whenever it's needed.
We need all kinds of people to care for all kinds of children.
We embrace all people regardless of language, culture, ethnicity or religion.
Glossary of Common Foster Care Terms
Learning about foster care and how the child protection system works can be confusing. If you would like to understand more we encourage you to contact us and we can help answer any of your questions.
As a starting point, please feel free to read a few of the definitions below which may provide some clarification.
Access (birth family contact)
Contact between a child in care and their birth families is called access. The frequency, length and form of access is determined on the court order.
Access can be supervised in a controlled environment if there is risk of aggression or harm. Access can also be informal gatherings, such as siblings attending a birthday party together.
A person who has the responsibility of providing day-to-day care of a child or young person. It includes carers who are relatives (kinship carers), foster carers, residential care workers, childcare workers and youth workers.
A foster carer is an approved and trained person (not being a guardian or relative of a child) who, with the assistance of a financial allowance, provides care and support for a child or young person in their home.
Out-Of-Home Care (OOHC)
OOHC is a broad term for different types of care for children who are under the Guardianship of the Minister and are unable to live with their parents. OOHC includes Foster Care, Kinship Care, Adoptions, Residential Care, and in South Australia, Specific Child Only (SCO) Care.
Lutheran Community Care is a South Australian OOHC service provider.
The planned process of contact between children and their birth families, and engagement of support services to enable children and young people in care to safely return home and live with their birth family.
Reunification is a transition over a period of time.
The primary stakeholders are children and young people in care, their birth families, carers, OOHC service providers, agency support workers and social workers. Other stakeholders within the child protection system may include education workers, psychologists, therapists, health workers and other advocates.