Becoming a carer requires an understanding and sensitivity to the needs of children who have been taken into the care of the Becoming a carer requires an understanding and sensitivity to the needs of children who have been taken into the care of Territory Families (TF) Each child is unique and has experiences shaped by their background, family and culture that may be very different and unfamiliar to you.
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. TF 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. They may:
- Be unusually clingy or, alternately, appear very distant or withdrawn.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 environment.
- Display a love/hate relationship to their parents.
- Be overly emotional, get upset easily or have temper tantrums.
- Lack a positive attitude to school.
- Show low self-esteem and lack confidence in their 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 are able to care for them. Because caring for children impacts on all members of your family, it is important that your entire family decides and agrees to care for and look after other people’s children. Welcoming a child into your home is always your choice.
TF 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 stay.
Important documents you require when a child or young person is placed with you:
Each time a child or young person is placed with you, you will receive an Essential Information Record within three days of the child coming to stay. When a child leaves your care, this record needs to be returned 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 Officer of TF. 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 child's 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 in the plan, and what support you can expect from TF to help you provide the right care.
For further details on these important documents please refer to the Carer Handbook
Foster Care Carers Handbook.pdf