Thinking about becoming a foster carer is a big decision to make so you probably have a lot of questions. Here are a few of the ones we get asked the most. If you can’t find an answer to your question here, please get in touch to speak to one of our team.
1. Who can become a foster carer?
Anyone can apply to become a foster carer with us. We work with foster carers who are single, married, co-habiting, divorced, gay, lesbian and heterosexual. We also recruit foster carers from different religious and cultural backgrounds. There are a few requirements we ask for before you can become a foster carer and you can learn more about those on our who can foster page.
2. Can I foster if I have a criminal conviction?
A criminal conviction won’t necessarily stop you from fostering. It depends on your conviction and when it happened. It’s standard for us to check criminal records at an early stage though, so you should let us know as soon as you can. We keep everything you share with us strictly confidential.
3. What checks are carried out on me and my household?
We work with the Department of Communities carry out a few checks to protect the foster children we work with. All the adults in your home will need to have a Working with Children (Blue Card) Check as well as other suitability checks through child protection agencies. You will also need to complete a health questionnaire and GP medical exam, provide three personal references, and pass a standard Housing Safety Study. You can find out more about what’s involved on our steps to foster page.
4. If I’m the primary foster carer, do other members of the household need to be checked?
If you’re living with your partner, we see you as partners in the fostering process too. You will both need to apply to foster carers, and take part in our fostering checks and training. This is because even if you will be the main foster carer, everyone in your home will be involved in your foster child’s life.
5. Could a child I foster share a bedroom with one of my own children?
We will generally only place a child in a home where he or she will have their own bedroom. If they’re part of a young sibling group, they may be able to share with their own brothers or sisters.
6. Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?
We prefer the main carer to be at home full time due to the high-quality care our foster children and young people need, however this is not essential. It is just important that you have time available and flexible working hours.
7. Can I choose how long I want children and young people to stay with me?
We’ll talk to you about the different types of foster care placements and help you choose which ones might suit you best. It isn’t always possible to know how long a child will need to stay with you, though.
8. Can I choose which age group or sex I would prefer to foster?
Yes, you can. But you’re far more likely to have continuous placements if you are willing to foster children of all ages.
9. How much will I know about the child or young person before they’re placed with me?
We’ll discuss every potential placement with you. It’s always up to you whether to take a young person or not. We’ll give you as much information about them as we can to help you make an informed decision. Sometimes we have very little information, especially in an emergency. But we always try to find out as much information as we can, as quickly as we can.
10. Will I be taxed on the fostering allowances I receive?
Foster care allowances don’t count as income, so aren’t taxed. It won’t affect applications for Commonwealth benefits or loan applications, either. You can find out more about specific allowances on our fostering allowances page.
11. What’s the difference between the Department of Communities and a non-government fostering agency like Key Assets?
In Queensland, foster carers need to be approved by the Department of Communities (Child Safety Services). They also have to work with a non-government fostering agency like us for day-to-day support and supervision. We then work with the Department to provide high-quality foster care services. Because of the complex nature of many of the placements we work with, we’re classed as a specialist foster agency.