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Out-of-home care is provided to children and young people who are unable to live with their own families. Foster carers take on the responsibilities of a parent for a period of time, to provide a safe, nurturing and secure family environment for children and young people needing care.

Children and young people stay in care until they're able to safely return home. The length of time in care will vary.  If they're not able to return to their birth parents, we try to locate a member of the child’s extended family to care for them.

There are generally 5 types of foster care:

Immediate or crisis care - Emergency placements are for children who need an urgent placement because there are concerns for their immediate safety. These placements can occur after-hours and on weekends. Emergency carers need to be able to provide care for very young children at short notice.

Respite care - From time to time, parents and carers need a break from their caring role. Respite care is for short periods of time, such as school holidays, weekends or for short periods during the week.

Short to medium-term care - These are placements of up to 6 months. Short to medium-term placements have a strong focus on reunifying the child with their birth parents or extended family. We call this restoration.

Long-term - These are placements for longer than 6 months. Long-term or permanent care placements usually refer to situations where the child is not expected to return to their family.

Relative or kinship care - Relative or kinship care is when a child or young person lives with a relative or someone they already know.

Find out more about the types of OOHC care types

Last updated: 14 Feb 2018
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