Out-of-home care

In Australia, keeping the family unit together is preferred. For some children this is not possible and they need to be placed in out-of-home care. Where possible, children are placed with extended family or their wider community. The aim is to eventually reunite children with their families.

Different types of out-of-home care include:

Foster care

Foster carers provide a place for a child in their own home and can be reimbursed for the costs of care (unless you decline the offer of reimbursement). Foster care placements can vary in length from short-term care to permanent care.

Relative/kinship care

Kinship carers may be:

  • related to the child
  • considered a family friend
  • a close friend of the child
  • a member of the child’s cultural community

Like foster care, you look after the child in your own home and can be reimbursed (unless you decline the offer of reimbursement).

Residential care

This provides accommodation for children in a residential building with paid staff.

Family group homes

These homes provide accommodation for children in a home environment with live-in carers. These carers are reimbursed and/or subsidised for the care they provide.

Independent living

This is where young people aged between 15 and 17 either pay board in a home or are part of the Lead Tenant program with a live-in mentor.

Your state and territory central authority will be able to give you more details on the requirements to become an out-of-home carer.