Becoming a carer requires an understanding and sensitivity to the needs
of children who have been taken into the care of the Office of Children and
Families (OCF). Each child is unique and has experiences shaped by their
background, family and culture that may be very different and unfamiliar to the
Usually when a
child comes into care they will bring some of their own personal belongings,
but sometimes they may arrive with just the clothes they are wearing. OCF will
provide a payment and/or goods at the commencement of the placement to help
with immediate needs.
The main reasons
children are brought into care are neglect and abuse. The child’s experiences
prior to entering care will have significantly shaped them, and children may
show some extreme emotions such as:
- Be unusually clingy or alternately appear very
distant or withdrawn.
- Be excessively demanding of attention or shy away
from attention or affection.
- Be rebellious, stubborn or defiant.
- Have difficulty adjusting to a routine or a family
- Display a love/hate relationship to their parents.
- Be overly emotional, get upset easily or have
- Lack a positive attitude to school.
Show low self-esteem, lack confidence in ability to
perform age appropriate tasks.
When a child needs care, an Alternative Care Support Worker or Caseworker
will get in touch with you to discuss whether you can care for this child.
Because caring for children impacts on all members of your family, it is
important that all your family decide and agree to care for and look after
other people’s children. Welcoming a child into your home is always your
will try to let a child meet you before they come to stay, although sometimes this is not possible. Even if a child has
met you before they arrive, they may still be nervous and anxious. They may feel unsure of themselves and of
what you and your family expect of them. They
may also be anxious about ensuring they behave properly so they are allowed to
Important documents you
require when a child or young person is placed with you:
You will receive an Essential
Information Record each time a child or young person is placed with you
within three days of the child coming to your home. When a child leaves your
care, return this record to the Caseworker.
When you accept a child into your care, you will be asked to sign a Placement Agreement Form between you
and the Chief Executive of the Office of Children and Families. The Placement
Agreement provides you with information about the care of the child, including length
of placement, contact arrangements for the child with their families and
financial and other supports provided for you and the child.
A case planning meeting must occur within 72 hours of the child or young
person being placed with you. You may be asked to attend as the Case Plan is developed from this
meeting. You will then receive a copy of the Case Plan within 14 days. The Case
Plan includes information about the placement arrangement, and the length and
purpose of the placement. It includes decisions and arrangements for contact
between the child and other people and how this will be managed.
The Case Plan will also help you understand the child’s circumstances,
your role on the plan, and what support you can expect from OCF to provide the
For further details on these important documents please refer to the Carer Handbook
Foster Care Carers Handbook.pdf