Frequently Asked questions

What is foster care?

Foster care is provided by people in their own homes for children and young people who cannot live with their families. Where it is in their best interest, children and young people are reunited back with their family as soon as possible.

What are the types of foster care placements?

  • Respite care

Respite care involves having a child in care for short stays. This could be regular weekends, school holidays or one-off overnight stays. 

  • Emergency care

Emergency foster care may involves an overnight stay or last for up to two weeks. Carers who provide emergency care can be contacted at short notice at any time of the day. 

  • Short-term care

This is up to about six months care, which often ends when a child or young person is reunified with their parents or placed with extended family members.

  • Long-term care

Long term care is arranged when a child or young person cannot return home for some time.  This is generally for care greater than six months. It may cease when a permanent care order is made, or when the child or young person reaches adulthood and becomes independent.

  • Therapeutic foster care

This is care where therapeutic foster carers with specialist training, support and financial assistance work closely with a team of professionals to provide care for children and young people who need therapeutic responses to their specific needs.

  • Voluntary care

Parents can voluntarily place their child in an out-of-home care placement for a period of time due to factors including parental illness, family crisis or for emergency reasons. The parent does this by signing an agreement with a foster care agency. Parents making voluntary placements retain their existing parental responsibilities and the agreement can be ended at any time.


Who can become a foster carer?

Foster carers come from all types of backgrounds and families. Foster carers can be individuals, couples, or part of a family. Foster carers are culturally, religiously and ethically diverse and come from a range of age groups. What is important is that foster carers are over the age of 21 and they can provide a safe and nurturing environment for children and young people who need care.