Foster and Kinship Care Program

Shared Family Care

Shared Family Care is a foster and kinship care support service for children who are subject to departmental intervention.  This program is a licensed service funded by the Queensland Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disabilities Services.

In plain language Shared Family Care supports Foster and Kinship Carers who have children placed with them from the Department of Child Safety.

Sadly, there are too many Queensland kids who can’t live at home because it is not safe for them to do so.  To paint a picture 9,706 children where subject to protective court orders during 2016-17.  Of those 9,406 were also placed in out-of-home care.  These are the children that we place with our foster carers.

What is out of home care?

Out of home care means caring for someone else’s child in your own home.  Foster and kinship carers provide a safe, secure and stable environment until the children and young people can return home.

A child living in an out of home care placement has experienced some kind of harm, which could be neglect and/or physical, emotional or sexual abuse and will also experience loss and grief from being separated from their family.

Carers provide the ongoing, day-to-day care for a child or young person, which can be both challenging and rewarding.  In addition, a carer needs to understand how to support the child or young person’s emotional needs.  Carers will not be just caring for a child, they also need to manage their own feelings and those of their family.

Statement of Standards

Foster and kinship cares are required to provide a level of care which is consistent with the Statement of Standards.  The Statement of Standards provide a way to measure quality of care and forms the basis for assessing whether the care provided is acceptable.  Thus Foster and kinship carers must provide care that will:

  • Respect the dignity and rights of children and young people
  • Ensure children and young people have adequate food, clothing and shelter
  • Consider culture, religious beliefs and ethnic identity
  • Respond to the emotional needs by understanding the abuse and trauma that the child or young person may have suffered and assist the child or young person in coping with this
  • Ensure the child or young person receives an education, and the opportunity to participate in positive social activities
  • Ensure necessary dental, medical and therapeutic services are received.

The role of a foster or kinship carer also involves supporting contact between the child and their family.    Children and young people in out of home care tell us that continued contact with their families has a positive impact on how they see themselves and their sense of self-value and identify.  Shared Family Care supports and promotes contact between the child and their family.  It is a requirement carers also actively support and promote contact between the child and their family.  The goal for a child in out of home care is to be reunited with their family.

For more information about fostering call us on (07) 4779 3332 or enquire online at foster@altheaprojects.org.au.

Refer to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services webpage for more information https://www.qld.gov.au/community/caring-child/foster-kinship-care-about

Fostering with us

At Shared Family Care the carers we support come from many different backgrounds and vary as much as the children and young people they look after.  However they all have one thing in common, they are all passionate, motivated and want to assist children and young people in out of home care to be provided with the opportunity to reach their full potential.

Shared Family Care supports both foster and kinship carers which are types of family-based care for children and young people who cannot stay in their own home because they have been harmed or are at risk of harm.

Shared Family Care is a program of Althea Projects Incorporated and is funded by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.  Shared Family Care works in partnership with the department to provide the best possible outcome for children and young people.

At Shared Family Care we are committed to ensuring that as part of the care team we work hard to stay child centered and family focused, and to ensure that the needs of the carers and children are met to a high standard and without delay.

Shared Family Care is located at 296 Ross River Road, Aitkenvale and supports foster and kinship carers in the Townsville, Burdekin, Ingham and Charters Towers region.

For more information about fostering call us on (07) 4779 3332 or enquire online at foster@altheaprojects.org.au.

Who can foster?

So, you are thinking of becoming a foster carer?  There are a number of things you need to know before deciding whether it’s right for you.  This includes finding out what fostering involves, how the process works and thinking about how fostering will affect you, your family and your extended family or networks.

Everyone has an opportunity to foster.  Fostering is open to a variety of people, with no restrictions based on race, cultural identity, sexual orientation or home ownership.  The decision is based upon your ability to provide a safe, caring and supportive environment for children and young people.    You are required to be over 18 years of age.

Shared Family Care is looking for people and families who want to make a difference to children and who have the personal qualities to make a real difference to the lives of children and young people in out of home care.  These qualities include:

  • Loving, caring, kind and respectful
  • Open, honest and patient
  • Tolerant, flexible and non-judgmental
  • Understanding and be empathetic towards children’s grief and loss
  • Be able to persevere with a child or young person’s challenging behavior/s

If you would like to speak to a member of our team, please call us on (07) 4779 3332 or enquire online at foster@altheaprojects.org.au.  You can also check out the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disabilities webpage for further information https://www.qld.gov.au/community/caring-child/foster-kinship-care-who-can-foster.

About foster and kinship care

Foster and kinship carers provide a safe and caring environment for children in care, aged from birth to 18 years who require out of home care.  This could be for a few days, weeks or several years depending on the circumstances.

Foster and kinship carers are everyday people from all walks of life, in all different family units and live all across the state.  They are highly valued for the role they have in our community.

Foster Carers

Foster carers provide an invaluable volunteer service in the support of children who have experienced a level of harm or be at risk of.  Some forms of harm are neglect, emotional, physical or sexual abuse or any combination of these traumas.  The level of needs and difficulties faced by children in out of home care can include challenging or destructive behaviours, behavioural disturbances, a disability including intellectual, physical or developmental.

Kinship Carers

Kinship carers are carers who have a significant relationship with a child or young person such as a relative, family member, close friend or a member of the child or young person’s community.  For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, a kinship carer may be a person who is a member of their family or their own community.

For more information about fostering call us on (07) 4779 3332 or enquire online at foster@altheaprojects.org.au.

Types of placements

Shared Family Care provides a number of different types of foster care placements.  Fostering placements can be for primary, respite or emergency.

At Shared Family Care we take pride in ensuring we match our carers to a child or young person’s needs as much as possible.  We strive to ensure that we match as best we can based on the information provided.  However we encourage our carers to be flexible and willing to take more than one type of foster care placement.

Emergency placements – involves caring for children or young people who need somewhere safe to stay immediately, usually for a few nights or weeks.

Primary placements – involves looking after children or young people for a few months up to 2 years until difficulties at home are resolved or alternative plans are made for their future.  Primary placements could also involve caring for children or young people until they reach 18 years of age.

Respite placements – is caring for children or young people for short periods for their primary foster or kinship carer.

Pre-adoptive care – when an adoption consent has been signed and the carer provides care for the child before they are united with their adoptive parents.

Many times ‘sibling groups’ require care.  Where possible, Shared Family Care will attempt to place siblings together.  This can mean that a carer will need to be found for a large number of children of varying ages and needs.

For more information about fostering call us on (07) 4779 3332 or enquire online at foster@altheaprojects.org.au.

Children in out of home care

Children requiring out of home care in Queensland have or are at risk of experiencing neglect or abuse.  This neglect or abuse can lead to trauma based behaviours for the child such as tantrums, being withdrawn, aggressive, clingy, rejecting or over-compliant.

Other children may behave older or younger than their years, may not know what is expected of them, find it difficult to develop trusting relationships with adults, or sometimes older children may have developed substance misuse (eg alcohol or illicit drug taking).

Shared Family Care requires a wide range of foster and kinship carers so as to ensure that children are matched to suit their needs.  For example Shared Family Care supports the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.

For further information on Shared Family Care please phone (07) 4779 3332 or enquire online foster@altheaprojects.org.au

Carers Support Service

Foster and kinship carers affiliated with Shared Family Care are well supported by a team of family case workers and senior practitioners.

The Shared Family Care team values the work that foster and kinship carers undertake and as such provides the following supports to foster and kinship carers:

  • Regular visits, emails and telephone contact to provide ongoing support from a qualified and suitable experienced Family Case Worker
  • Access to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year telephone support
  • Advocacy
  • Information and referral advice
  • Carer network opportunities and social functions
  • Ongoing comprehensive training program and upskilling
  • Monitoring and support
  • Access to Billabong Sanctuary.

For further information on how Shared Family Care can support you please phone (07) 4779 3332 or enquire online foster@altheaprojects.org.au.

Other supports provided by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services include:

  • Access to the Foster and kinship care support line
  • Supportive paid respite
  • Financial support that values your skills as a foster and kinship carer and the demands of your role
  • Early childhood education and care initiative
  • Foster Carer Card – which provides access to a range of business discounts to assist with everyday caring costs. Participating businesses include automotive repairs, home maintenance, healthcare, accommodation and tourist attractions.

For further information on the supports offered form the Department of Communities visit their webpage on https://www.qld.gov.au/community/caring-child/foster-kinship-care-information-for-existing-carers

Training

Shared Family Care is committed to providing quality training to foster carers that is accessible and relevant.  Foster carer training is viewed as an important element of foster carer support and we believe that it is particularly crucial that foster carers are provided with high quality training, learning and development opportunities.  This increases their knowledge, skills and confidence in a wide range of subjects and areas.

Foster carers must complete mandatory Quality Care training provided by the Department of Communities;

  • Quality Care Modules 1-4 as part of your initial assessment
  • Quality Care Modules 5-7 in your first year of being a foster carer

Shared Family Care provides training through both an induction process and ongoing to assist you and your family with the challenges, rewards and other matters faced by foster carers.  This will assist you as a foster carer to feel confident that you have the skills required to care and protect children from harm.

Shared Family Care encourages foster carers to take responsibility of their own professional development through personalised training and can refer carers a number of external training opportunities.

Call us on (07) 4779 3332 or enquire online at foster@altheaprojects.org.au to register your interest to foster today. 

Fostering payments

All foster and kinship carers receive an allowance to cover the cost of caring for children and young people.  In Queensland, all fostering allowances are paid by the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services.

Foster carer allowances are provided as a contribution towards the cost of having a child in your care.  The standard foster carer allowances provided by the Department of Communities vary according to the age of the child in care, as well as the complexities of their needs or their behavioural difficulties.

Foster carers allowances provided by the Department of Communities can be made up of three separate components:

The Fostering Allowance – This allowance is applicable to all foster carers.

High Support Needs Allowance – Paid in addition to the fostering allowance to foster carers who are caring for children and young people with High Support Needs.

Complex Care Allowance – Paid in addition to the fostering allowance and the High Support Needs Allowance for foster carers of children and young people who require complex care.

For more information about fostering allowances for foster cares refer to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disabilities webpage.  https://www.qld.gov.au/community/caring-child/foster-kinship-care-financial-support

How to become a foster carer

The application process to become a foster carer in Queensland with Shared Family Care is detailed below.  The process to become a foster carer from submission of application to approval is usually between 12-16 weeks.

The process to become a kinship carer differs and we recommend you speak with Shared Family Care for further information.

The process to become a foster carer is:

  1. Register your interest to become a foster carer. Phone us on (07) 4779 3332 or email us at foster@altheaprojects.org.au
  2. Shared Family Care will contact you and take some basic information from you and provide you with an information kit.
  3. A member of Shared Family Care will contact you and arrange a home visit to discuss becoming a foster carer with you in greater depth. In addition to us finding out more about you, this is an opportunity for you to find out more about becoming a foster carer, and whether you are comfortable that we are the agency you can best work with.

A household safety study will also need to be carried out on your home at this initial home visit.

  1. All foster carers are required to complete mandatory training before proceeding to the next stage. Modules 1-4 of the Quality Care – Foster Carer Training.  The Shared Family Care staff member will discuss training delivery options with you.
  2. On successful completing the training the Shared Family Care assessor will commence your assessment. The assessment includes interviews on topics such as your motivation to foster, ability to manage stress and own childhood experience.  You will complete the application form (APA) which requires you to supply detailed information about you and your family and give consent for the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability services to complete personal history checks (which includes child protection, traffic and criminal history).  Once Shared Family Care is notified you are eligible to proceed the assessment interviews will commence.
  3. During the assessment phase the Shared Family Care assessor will also require the following information:
  • Blue Card confirmation or application forms completed for yourself and all adult members
  • A health and wellbeing questionnaire
  • GP Report
  • Referee reports
  • Agreement to Participate
  • Bank details
  • Fire Escape Plan
  • Pool registration (if applicable)
  • Genograms
  • Employment History.
  1. Once the assessment is finalised (with the recommendation to approve or not), the assessment is lodged to the Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services for determination for your approval as a Foster Carer. Once the Department makes the decision you will receive either your Certificate of Approval (for 1 year) or a letter outlining why approval was not granted.

To begin the process to become a foster carer please enquire with us today.  Phone us on (07) 4779 3332 or enquire online foster@altheaprojects.org.au.

Carer Testimonials

Video clips

Foster Care Recruitment    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiYcX8ZEoJ8

Lucille’s Story              https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lWi7ytPr61M

Bartholemew’s Story  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=selMoTizy-c

Brian and Veda’s Story           https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBGIkLepOY4