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How to become a foster carer

You could be working full-time, part-time or not at all. You can be single, married, in a de facto relationship or in a same-sex relationship. What a foster carer needs most of all is a big heart and a lot of patience.

Each day people from all walks of life are opening their homes to vulnerable children and young people, but we need more people like them. Whether you have days, weeks, months or years to spare, there's a child who could benefit from your love and kindness.


  • are ideally over the age of 25
  • are an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • are in good health
  • do not have an unfavourable criminal record.

Communities and Justice (DCJ) is recruiting carers

Although DCJ has transferred the provision of out-of-home care to non-government agencies, we are recruiting carers:

  • who can offer emergency care
  • who can offer short-term care
  • to care for Aboriginal children
  • to care for children with a disability
  • to care for sibling groups (2 or more children or young people)

Locations where we need more carers

We need more carers, across all care types, in the following areas:

  • Sydney's central and western suburbs
  • Regional locations in Western NSW
  • Regional locations in Far Western NSW

Aboriginal carers and emergency carers are needed in:

  • Bourke, Cobar, Broken Hill, Brewarrina, Walgett and Moree areas

Carers for children with special needs and disabilities and emergency carers are needed in:

  • Sydney (most areas)
  • Illawarra and Shoalhaven area
  • Albury, Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Leeton and Deniliquin areas

Carers for sibling groups are needed in:

  • Western and Central Sydney
  • Albury, Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Leeton and Deniliquin areas

How to apply to become a DCJ foster carer

As an authorised carer, with DCJ or a non-government agency, you will receive a carer allowance. The carer allowance is designed to cover the general day-to-day costs of raising a child.

Please call My Forever Family NSW on 1300 782 975 or visit My Forever Family NSW to enquire about becoming a DCJ foster carer, view eligibility requirements, how to apply, and learn about the ongoing support and training you’ll receive.

Or you can complete the enquiry form or call 02 9765 5000 to find out more about becoming a DCJ foster carer.

Apply with non-government foster care agencies

There are now many non-government agencies providing foster care either as independent organisations or as part of a larger, sometimes church-based organisation.

Fostering NSW can help you find  accredited foster care agencies in your area, including Aboriginal agencies.

How are carers authorised?

Your suitability to be an authorised foster carer will be determined based on the outcomes of background checks on all adults in the household including a criminal record check, DCJ history and personal and medical referee checks. Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you from becoming a carer. The nature of the offence will be taken into consideration as part of your assessment as a potential carer.

Agencies will look at your competence in certain areas such as:

  • your personal readiness to become a foster carer
  • your ability to work effectively as part of a team
  • your capacity to promote the positive development of children and young people in care
  • your ability to provide a safe environment that is free of abuse.

How will my application be assessed?

During assessment, a range of issues will be explored and assessed. This information will be kept strictly confidential and only used in the foster care application process.

Criminal record check

It's a legal requirement for you and other members of your household to undergo a criminal record check. These are only done with your permission.

The check applies to all people living in your house aged 16 or over and may also be undertaken for anyone in the household over 14 years, if there are issues of concern.

Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you or a family member from becoming a carer.

Specifically, you will be asked to:

  • make a Prohibited Employment Declaration that you have not been convicted of a serious sex offence that prohibits you from becoming a foster carer
  • consent to a Working with Children Check to allow screening of your criminal and work record in relation to sexual misconduct and acts of violence involving children.

Health check

You will be asked to complete a health check and your doctor will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire about your health. You will be asked about:

  • your physical health
  • your emotional health
  • your current and past illnesses and medical problems
  • your use of alcohol or drugs or both (prescribed and non-prescribed)
  • smoking

If any medical issue arises that may affect your suitability to foster, we will discuss it with you to work out together the likely impact on any children or young people in your care.

Referee checks

You will be asked to provide the name of at least 2 people not related to you. Your referees must have known you for at least 2 years and be able to comment on your personal character and ability to care for children.

Accommodation check

As part of the assessment, we will conduct a check to make sure that your home is appropriate and a physically safe environment.

History check

A check will be done to see if you have previously been reported to DCJ. If you are known to DCJ, you are not automatically disqualified. However, any DCJhistory that affects your ability to care safely for a child or young person will mean your application cannot proceed.

Previous foster carer check

If you have been a foster carer in the past or have applied to be a foster carer for another agency, your history will still be checked.

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Last updated: 07 Aug 2020