Each week more than 60 children enter out-of-home care (OOHC) because they cannot live safely at home. Many have experienced neglect or abuse due to families facing multiple challenges including inter-generational trauma, domestic violence, parental drug and alcohol abuse, mental health issues, poverty, lack of parenting skills and social isolation.
NSW’s Permanency Support Program was introduced to the OOHC sector on 1 October 2017, to improve safety, permanency and well-being outcomes for children and young people who are currently in care or at risk of coming into care.
There are many ways you can make a difference in the life of a child or young person through providing a stable, loving home. CareSouth needs local families and individuals to become emergency, respite or restoration carers. We need people who can build trusting relationships with birth families and work alongside us to return children home safely. We also need families and individuals who are interested in fostering to adopt children in their care.
You've never been more needed.
What are the types of care?
Becoming a carer can be for just a few nights, a period of weeks or months, or a lifetime commitment. CareSouth believes in linking vulnerable children to strong carer families who can provide short or long-term care to help children and their families turn their lives around. You can help through one of the many permanency pathways below;
Emergency Care is needed when there are concerns for a child’s immediate safety. Emergency carers need to be able to provide care at short notice, after hours and on weekends.
Respite Care gives foster families a break and provides a positive experience for a child or young person. This is for short periods of time, usually one weekend a month, during school holidays or sometimes during the week. It is usually planned and scheduled in advance.
Family Preservation and Restoration involves providing early intervention activities and intensive support to families, so that vulnerable children and young people can remain with or be returned to their families when it is safe to do so. It is the preferred permanency option if a child or young person is placed in out-of-home care while their family is supported to strengthen their parenting.
Foster Care can be for a period of up to two years, sometimes longer, while long-term decisions are being made for a child or young person. There is a focus on reuniting the child with their birth parents or extended family where this is possible.
Kinship Care is when a child or young person lives with a relative or someone they already know.
Guardianship provides children and young people with greater stability following a Children’s Court decision that they cannot live with their parents. A guardian can be a relative or kinship carer, a family friend or an authorised carer who has an established, positive relationship with the child or young person. Guardians have full care, legal and decision making responsibility for a child or young person in their care until the age of 18.
Adoption is a way of providing a permanent family for a child or young person who can’t be restored to their parents or live with a relative or kinship carer. This is usually ‘open adoption’ which means supporting children and young people to remain connected to their birth family and cultural heritage. Foster carers who have had a child or young person in their care for a period of time may wish to adopt.
Whatever way you help, your commitment will be valued. A stable home, predictable routine and carers who set firm but loving boundaries can make a huge difference in the life of a child or young person.
Who can be a carer?
Everyday people from all walks of life. They are young couples, same sex couples, single people, have children of their own or are retired. Becoming a foster carer can be a very rewarding journey for you and your family. If you’ve given it plenty of thought, talked it through, and you have the time and the space (a spare bedroom) in your home contact us.
What support does CareSouth provide?
At CareSouth, our carers are a valuable part of our team. Our foster carers receive regular training and caseworker visits, 24/7 on call support, regular chances to meet up with other foster carers, clinical services and a tax-free allowance. We support you, so you can support those who need it most.
What’s the process?
CareSouth foster carers participate in an assessment and training process. That means several meetings and interviews along with preliminary training - usually run over a series of evenings or weekends. You will also need to complete criminal and other record checks to be considered. You have specifically trained staff communicating with you throughout the process.
Like to find out more? Call 1300 554 260 for a chat or contact us.
Fostering not for you but you’d still like to help? Check out CareSouth’s Champions program we link volunteers with less spare time with children and young people in need of positive role modelling and support.