SummaryRead the full fact sheet
- Foster care is temporary care of children of any age up to 18 years, by trained, assessed and accredited foster carers.
- Children are placed in foster care for a range of reasons.
- Foster carers and foster care agencies have a critical role in caring for some of the state’s most vulnerable children.
- More foster carers are needed.
On this page
Foster care is temporary care of children of any age up to 18 years, by trained, assessed and accredited foster carers. Children requiring foster care can come from various cultural, religious and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Foster carers and foster care agencies have a critical role in caring for some of the state’s most vulnerable children.
Family rights and responsibilities
Foster and other out-of-home care can result from a:
- court order
- voluntary arrangement between the child’s parent and a community service organisation.
If the placement is voluntary, the birth parent remains the child’s legal guardian and is encouraged to visit the child regularly. If the placement is involuntary, a court order will outline legal rights and responsibilities as well as when the birth parents can have contact with the child.
Support services for foster carers
The Victorian Government funds foster care agencies (also known as ‘community service organisations’) to operate foster care programs, including specialist adolescent and therapeutic programs.
Foster care agencies are responsible for supporting foster carers. You can expect the foster care agency to offer you support through telephone calls, home visits, after-hours support and regular supervision sessions. Your foster care agency can also provide ongoing training to help you develop the skills you need to meet the challenges faced as a foster carer.
For more information, support and advice, contact your foster care agency.
Foster Care Association of Victoria
The Foster Care Association of Victoria offers an information and support service for foster carers.
Visit the Foster Care Association of Victoria website to find out more about the Carer Information and Support Service and submit an online enquiry, or call the helpline service on (03) 9416 4292.
Financial assistance for foster carers
The Australian Government provides foster care families with ongoing financial support. The fortnightly non-taxable allowance contributes to the costs of the child’s food, clothing and other expenses. A number of other payments and reimbursements are also available for certain foster children and situations including for those families who are caring for a child with disability or a medical condition.
See the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing's Financial guide for home-based carers.
You may also be eligible for a Foster Child Health Care Card if you are a foster carer, or caring for someone else’s child.
See the Services Australia website for more information on the types of payments you might be eligible to receive. The Foster Care Association of Victoria provides a number of useful information sheets on its website, including some on financial assistance for foster parents.
Learning more about foster care
As a community, we rely heavily on volunteer foster carers. The care and support that foster carers provide is invaluable. It develops and changes the lives of some of the state’s most vulnerable children.
More foster carers are needed. In 2011–12, 3,526 children entered out-of-home care in Victoria. Foster carers are well supported and receive a carer reimbursement and ongoing learning opportunities.
Where to get help
- Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, Victoria. Tel. 1300 475 170
- Fostering Connections Tel. 1800 013 088
- Your local foster care agency
This page has been produced in consultation with and approved by: