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Types of out-of-home care

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 - this can last for anywhere from a few months to two years. Short to medium-term care has a strong focus on reuniting the child with their birth parents or extended family within two years of the child or young person’s coming to live with them. In some circumstances a short-term carer may be caring for a child before they move to another carer who is not a relative or kin.

Long-term or permanent care - these are placements for longer than two years. Long-term or permanent care usually occurs when the child is not expected to return to their family. In some circumstances, carers can apply to become legal guardians of, or adopt children, who have been in their long-term care.

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

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Last updated: 14 Feb 2018
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