Will I meet the child’s family?
So long as it is safe, it is likely you will facilitate contact with birth family and significant others for a child or young person in your care. In most cases, your case manager will develop a relationship with the biological family before you have any contact with the family and you will be provided with support and guidance along the way.
Will the child’s family know where I live?
In most cases, the law says that information about the child or children’s placement must be given (‘disclosed’) to their parents and to other people who are important to the child or children. This is because giving out this information helps the child or young people stay in contact with the people who are important to them. The safety of your family and any children placed with you will always come first when considering what information can be disclosed. Your consent will always be requested in writing before your personal information is disclosed and you can request a review of the decision.
Can a child or young person go back to their family?
Children and Young People are normally placed in short term placements during court proceedings. At this time their family has the opportunity to engage with Community Services and the Courts to demonstrate that they are able to provide a safe environment for the child or young person. It is important to note, a child’s parents or significant persons may apply to the Court for a change of circumstances at any point (except where a child has been adopted). The Court takes the child or young person’s current attachment and relationship with his or her carers into consideration when making a decision about who a child should live with. The Court’s decision is made in the best
interest of the child.
Do we get to pick the school for the child or young person?
If a child is staying with you for a short period they will usually remain at their own school so they continue to have contact with familiar people and places. If it's a long term placement then schooling options for the child would be discussed in partnership with the child's case manager.
Can we travel with a child or young person in our care?
Travel can be a great experience for children and young people! You can travel within NSW if it doesn’t interfere with the child’s schooling or planned family contact.
If you are travelling interstate you will need permission. Overseas travel with a child is possible with a little bit of forward planning. The child or young person
in your care will need consent to travel and will require a passport. Your Case Manager will apply for a passport on behalf of the child and in some cases, the consent of the child’s birth parents will also be sought before applying for a passport. To avoid delays and disappointment, let your Case Manager know well in advance if you’re planning to travel overseas.
I work full time. Can the child attend day care or before and after school care?
For pre-school age children, carers need to be available two full days out of every usual five day working week to ensure they are able to attend appointments as required, and to develop a positive attachment with the child in their care. A child should only be in formal childcare for a maximum of three days a week. School age children can be in before/after school care for a maximum of 10 hours a week. They can be in either before OR after school care, but not both on one day in order to minimise the number of transitions they need to make each day.
What if the placement isn’t working?
We know that being a carer can be challenging, which is why we provide a number of supports and services to ensure Carers and children are supported throughout the placement to work through issues as they arise. Additional specialist support services are available when required. Children in foster care who move from one home to another face additional difficulties which can make it hard for them to concentrate on school, build friendships and family relationships, heal from trauma, and feel
secure and loved. For this reason we ask Carers to do their very best to make a placement work. We recognise that occassionally placements may not be viable or safe for carers/and or the child. In these cases we encourage carers to be transparent with their Case Manager to ensure the agency are able to initiate
appropriate next steps.
What is the NSW Carers Register?
The NSW Carers Register is a centralised database of persons (and their household members) who are applying to be foster carers or who are existing authorised foster carers. The aim of the register is to promote the safety, welfare and wellbeing of all children and young people in out of home care. All designated agencies in
NSW must use the register to share information about carers and prospective carers. The register will let agencies know if someone has previously been an authorised Carer or has applied to be a Carer with another agency. Further information about the NSW Carers Register is available via the Office of the Children’s Guardian website.
Will the child have access to Medicare?
Yes, children and young people under 18 years of age who are in out of home care are entitled to Medicare benefits. They are also entitled to Child Dental Benefits if they are aged between 2 and 17 years of age. The agency will consider requests for additional financial support in situations whereby a child or young person requires essential additional medical or dental treatment that is not covered by Medicare benefits.