Who can be a foster carer?

Foster carers don't have to be rich or have a big house. They need to be able to offer a safe home environment to the foster child and have the ability to provide loving and secure relationships.

Foster carers are generally aged between 25 and 70 and can include:

  • individuals (male or female)
  • couples (including same sex couples)
  • people with their own children
  • people who do not have children.

It's important to include all household members in discussions about becoming a foster carer. The whole household will need to meet with the fostering assessment worker and be involved in the process of becoming a foster carer.

The time it takes to become a registered foster carer can vary, however it usually takes between six and nine months.

Not all carers need to be available full time, so you can combine work and other commitments with being a foster carer.

Personal qualities of a foster carer

Foster carers will work openly and cooperatively with all people in the child's life to ensure the best outcomes for that child.

They will learn about and understand, the impact of the serious issues that lead to children coming into care, particularly the effects of abuse and neglect.

It's important for carers to have the following qualities:

  • flexibility
  • the ability to work in a team
  • keen to learn and willing to undertake ongoing training
  • interested in strengthening a family
  • up for a challenge.

It's also important for carers to be able to:

  • accept a child as a full member of their family
  • care for and nurture the healthy development of a child
  • strengthen connections to the birth family
  • help transition the child to their next care placement or to return home if the placement is not a long term arrangement
  • value their role as a member of the child's care team
  • advocate for the needs of a child
  • know when to ask for help.

Related information

Other websites

What makes a good foster carer? - Guardian for Children and Young People


Foster Care Services
Phone 1300 2 FOSTER (1300 2 367 837)

Was this page useful?

Thanks for contributing - your feedback helps us improve this website.

Page last updated 31 July 2019

Provided by:
Department for Child Protection
Last Updated:
Printed on:
Copyright statement:
SA.GOV.AU is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © Copyright 2023