It isn’t always possible for foster children to be reunited with their birth families. So they’ll need to stay in foster care until they reach the age of 18 years. This is the age young people usually leave care but many states are now offering them option to remain in care for a few years longer so that they are mature enough and have the skills and supports required for them to safely live independently.
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Why do children need Long Term Foster Care?
For most children and young people who come into care, the preference is for them to return to their parents or other family as soon as possible. However, when it is the case that parents and family are unable to offer a safe stable home, Long Term Fostering may be the preferred option for the child’s care.
Though the plan may be not to return to family, it is in the child’s best interests have knowledge of and maintain contact with their birth family. The Foster Carer can assist in enabling this to happen.
Duration of Care
Long Term Fostering usually continues until a child leaves care at ages 18 years. Some states are offering young people the choice to remain in care for a few years longer to give them more time to prepare for independence. In such cases the Foster Carer may be asked to consider the young person staying on with them for a few years longer.
How we support our carers
Being a foster carer is one of the most challenging yet most rewarding things you’ll ever do. It truly is a life-changing experience – not just for you and your family, but for the children you help too. At Key Assets, you will never be alone in facing those challenges and celebrating the rewards. The support we offer will guide you through the ups and downs of fostering.
We are there for you and you can talk to a member of our team whenever you need to. Even outside office hours we have a staff member always on call so help is just at the end of the phone.
You and your social worker will have regular contact. You will collaborate in finding the most effective ways of responding to the needs of the child in your care.
All foster carers need a rest sometimes. Respite carers will look after the child in your care for short periods so you can get some time and space to yourself with your family. We try and place the child with the same Respite Carer each time so they get to know each other.
You will receive a non-taxable Foster Care Subsidy to help support the child. This allowance varies between states as, in some states, it is decided not by Key Assets but by the state government. The subsidy will also depend on the type of foster care you are doing and the needs of the child in your care.
There’s nothing like sharing stories, experiences and information with fellow foster carers. We organise regular foster carer groups to help you build a network of people who can share the rewarding experiences and who also understand when the going gets tough.
Depending on the placement, we will assign skilled support workers to the child or young person if they need extra help. For example, Support Workers might work with a child struggling at school, who needs help with building life skills such as shopping or handling money, or attending a sports group.
Activities and days out
Having fun and learning as a family is great for your relationships. We organise social, cultural, sporting and educational activities for your whole family to get involved in.
Your health and well-being is very important. All our Foster Carers and their immediate families have access to our Employee Assistance service which you can use anonymously and at no charge.
Your professional development as a foster carer is extremely important. We provide training across all aspects of foster care to help you build your skills and knowledge in working with children who have suffered harm.
Carers looking after Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander children are expected to keep those children closely in touch with their culture. The same is true for children of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. We will provide you with the help and resources so you can do this.
Key Care Team®
Our Key Care Team combines all the people around the child or young person in foster care. This will include Key Assets Social Worker and Therapist and also departmental and health workers. The Foster Carer is included as an important member of the team. The idea is that all members communicate with each other, work together, and share the same goals and priorities for the child.
We’ll help you join the fostering association in the state in which you live.