Who can foster
Foster carers come from all walks of life to care for children and young people. We welcome enquiries from everyday members of the community who can provide a safe and caring home for children and young people when their parent/s or relatives are unable to care for them or when children are at risk of harm.
Foster carers are not expected to be perfect, but they do need to relate well to children and be committed to meeting children's needs. We welcome foster care enquiries and all enquiries are treated strictly confidential.
We welcome foster carers from all walks of life. Foster carers can be;
- Male or female
- Single or a couple (including de facto and same-sex couples)
- Biological parents or adults without children
- Pet owners
- Renting or own their home
- Employed full-time, part-time or retired
- From all occupations
- Financially capable of supporting a child
- Physically and emotionally able to care for a child
- A permanent resident of Australia; and
- Generally over 25 years of age
To become a foster carer, you will undergo an assessment process where your maturity, health and lifestyle is considered within the context of the type of care you would like to provide.
Scroll down to read about some of the characteristics and personal qualities of successful foster carers.
Characteristics and qualities of foster carers
The assessment and training process to becoming a foster carer is designed to help inform and confirm whether foster caring is right for you and your family. The process looks at both your practical capacity to meet children's needs and your personal strengths and qualities to determine how you will relate to children and young people, specifically children and young people from a trauma background.
Some of the key characteristics and qualities held by successful foster carers are outlined below.
Successful foster carers have time availability to offer children and young people, and flexible expectations of themselves, children and young people, and the future. There are often unknown variables throughout the caring journey and carers may need to adapt their homes and lives to meet the child's growing and changing needs. Successful foster carers are flexible enough to simultaneously be okay with what's unknown and strive for success in helping children and young people take small steps toward meeting goals in all their life domains.
Foster carers are never alone in their caring role for children and young people. As a foster carer, you are a key member of the 'Care Team' that is working together to meet the best interests of the child. The Care Team includes foster carers, your LCC support worker, the child's DCP social worker and other professionals in the child's life e.g school teachers, physiologists, medical professionals, therapists or counsellors. Every LCC foster family is allocated an LCC support worker who journeys alongside you to support your family, help you navigate the child protection system and where required, advocate for you and the children and young people in your care. All members of the Care Team have an essential role to play and the voice of foster carers at the table is integral in meeting the best interests of the child.
As briefly explored above, foster carers regularly communicate with a wide range of people and professionals in the Care Team to assist with the care of a child or young person. If the child or young person is able to verbalize, it is vitally important that the Care Team hear and give weight to their voice in their decision making. In providing for and meeting children's day to day physical, emotional, physiological, educational and cultural needs, foster carers are well positioned to identify, communicate and advocate for the child's needs, wishes and for what's ultimately in their best interest.
The mandatory training required as part of your application to foster is just the beginning! We acknowledge in caring for children and young people, it's vitally important that we are always learning, equipping ourselves and refining our skills. Lutheran Community Care's foster carers are supported to maintain a current Personal Learning & Development Plan. The learning reflections and goals outlined in your personalized plan will help your support worker guide you in seeking relevant and meaningful training and learning opportunities in the areas that will be most helpful and practical for you in your caring role, and those in which you'd like to grow.
Children in care have journeyed through adverse childhood experiences causing them harm. They have often learned to survive in their environments rather than knowing and feeling safe to explore, play, learn, grow and thrive. The weight of their experiences is often a very heavy load for them to carry. Children and young people in care need foster carers who are full of unconditional acceptance so that they can experience and feel a vital sense of safety and belonging. Our trauma-informed approach to caring for children and young people in care helps us understand that a child's behaviour is not their identity and that their behaviour is communication. It's our role as positive and supportive adults to take the time necessary to listen to them and hear what they are saying so that we (the Care Team) can best help and support them to grow, learn and thrive.
A sense of humour is an asset in the caring role - it can help diffuse a situation or break tension, but it's also a practical tool in bonding with children and young people. Playfulness in the context of foster care is about creating a light atmosphere of intrigue and fun to connect with children and young people on an emotional level. Playfulness can encompass our tone of voice when storytelling, shared experiences of having fun, expressing joy or promoting curiosity. In moments of playfulness adults and children can build a connection from a place of safety and relaxation. Playfulness adds elements of fun and enjoyment in day-to-day life and can help keep everything in perspective.
We embrace all people regardless of culture, ethnicity or religion.
Foster Carer Testimonial
Foster carers are everyday people doing extraordinary things in the lives of children and young people.
"[We are] just regular people with a regular family"
- Ann, LCC Foster Carer