Support for foster and kinship carers
Supporting foster and kinship carers is a priority for the Department for Child Protection (DCP) and a crucial principle in the Statement of Commitment for foster and kinship carers in South Australia. For information on supports for carers refer to the DCP website.
How carers are supported by their agency
Foster care agencies and service providers work to support, inform and advocate for carers regarding their rights and entitlements.
They also have a management system and procedure for providing a 24-hour emergency support to the carers. This service is provided in collaboration with the Department for Child Protection.
Once registered with an agency or service provider, they will assign a placement support worker to support foster carers in their role.
Placement support workers will visit the carer's home at least once every eight weeks for support and supervision.
Visits may occur more often if required.
During these visits the following topics are usually discussed:
- child's health, emotional and behavioural development
- family contact arrangements
- the child's educational progress
- cultural considerations and special needs
- care environment, personal circumstances and interpersonal issues
- adequacy of carer support
- critical incidents
- relationships with birth family and the impact of contact
- partnership with the department and other agencies.
All home visits are documented and a copy of the documentation is provided to the carer.
Telephone contact between the placement support worker and the carer happens at least every four weeks and calls from the carer are returned as soon as possible.
Connecting with other foster carers
Many local Department for Child Protection offices have carer's groups that provide foster carers the opportunity to meet other carers and staff.
Workers from the Department for Child Protection, fostering agencies and carers plan a calendar of events that includes a range of activities such as:
- Kinship and Foster Care Week events
- speakers and morning teas
- Christmas parties.
Carer's group meetings can be conference style with presentations or discussions for learning, while others are more social.
Non-government agency reference and support groups
Some foster care agencies have:
- reference groups to gain feedback from foster carers as well as provide an opportunity to discuss matters relating to their role as a foster carer
- support groups that offer training opportunities, speakers, morning teas - and the chance to meet other foster carers.
To find out more, contact your support worker or agency.
Where to get support and advocacy
In addition to placement support workers and foster care agencies, there are other support groups that can provide further help.
Connecting Foster & Kinship Carers - SA
Connecting Foster & Kinship Carers - SA is the peak body for Foster and Kinship Carers in South Australia, and is committed to ensuring Carers are recognised as vital partners within the child protection system. They provide individual and systemic advocacy, information, education and support to the carer community across South Australia.
Department for Child Protection Foster Care Services
The Department for Child Protection Foster Care Services team can be contacted for advice or assistance.
Phone: 1300 2 Foster (1300 2 367 837)
Statement of Commitment - Department for Child Protection