Different types of out-of-home care

Out-of-home care is a broad term for different types of care for children who are under orders of guardianship or custody of the Chief Executive of the Department for Child Protection, and are unable to live with their parents.

In most cases children in out-of-home care are also under a care and protection order.

Out-of-home care includes several different types of care placement.

Foster care

Foster carers provide a safe and secure home for children who are unable to stay with their birth family. Children in foster care can be any age from birth to 18 years.

Children and young people in foster care may have contact with their birth family while they are living with a foster carer. This is arranged by the Department for Child Protection.

Kinship care

Kinship carers are people who care for children who are either related to them (blood relations) or who have a relationship with the child, their family or community.

When a child is unable to live with their birth family, the Department for Child Protection will try to find a kinship carer. This is important as it helps the child maintain a connection with their family and community.

Aboriginal children

Kinship care is the most common form of placement for Aboriginal children who are unable to live with their birth families.

Caring by relatives is common in many cultures, but the term kinship care can have different meanings for different cultural groups.

In Aboriginal communities, kin may be a relative of the child or someone who shares a cultural or community connection.

Residential care

Children placed into residential care will live in a residential care facility with a number of other children who are also in out-of-home care.

Residential care facilities are staffed with Department for Child Protection employees or carers from non-government organisations.

Related information

On this site

Adoption in South Australia

Other websites

National Standards for out-of-home care - Australian Government Department of Social Services

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Page last updated 28 January 2020

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