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To help your understanding about fostering, here are some of our most frequently asked questions. For further information, please contact us today and speak to a member of our team.
1. What is the difference between Family and Community Services NSW and a non-government fostering agency like Key Assets?
As a part of the application to foster, we work with Family and Community Services NSW, Commission for Children and Young People and the Children’s Guardian NSW to carry out all checks on your household. These include a National Criminal Record Check, Working with Children checks on all adult members of the household as well as Suitability Checks through the state and inter-state government Child Protection Agencies, including New Zealand (if applicable).
A non-government agency provides day to day support for foster carers as well as case management, where delegated by Family and Community Services NSW. In New South Wales, non-governmental fostering agencies are usually identified as providing either ‘General’ or ‘Intensive’ support.
2. Who can become a foster carer?
Anyone can apply to become a foster carer with us. We recruit foster carers who are single, married, co-habiting, divorced, gay, lesbian and heterosexual. We also recruit foster carers from different religions, cultural and ethnic groups.
There are a few requirements we ask for before you can become a foster carer:
Find out more about who can foster with Key Assets.
3. Can I foster if I have a criminal conviction?
A criminal conviction from your past would not necessarily disqualify you from fostering. It depends on the nature of the conviction and when it occurred. It’s standard procedure for us to check criminal records at an early stage in the application process, so we do like to discuss any convictions you may have as early as possible. Any information shared with us remains strictly confidential at all times.
4. What checks are carried out on me and my household?
As a part of the application to foster, we work with Family and Community Services NSW, Commission for Children and Young People and the Children’s Guardian NSW to carry out all checks on your household. These include Working with Children checks on all adult members of the household as well as Suitability Checks through the state and inter-state government Child Protection Agencies, including New Zealand (if applicable).
A health questionnaire and medical examination by your GP are also needed, with the report being made available to our Agency Medical Advisor for their comments. You will also be asked to provide three personal references including one from a family member, who will provide written references and be interviewed as part of the assessment process. A standard Housing Safety Study would be carried out in your home to ensure it is a safe place for a child or young person.
5. If I am the primary foster carer, do other members of the household need to be checked?
Key Assets carry out checks on all adult members of the household. Couples living together will both be required to undertake the necessary checks and training. You will also both have to apply to become foster carers. Even if you are the main foster carer, anyone sharing your home will have some involvement in and influence on the fostering task.
6. 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 (unless they are a young sibling group).
7. Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?
We think that the high quality care which we consider every one of our children and young people need can only be achieved by having a carer who has made a full-time commitment to fostering. Whilst carers attached to our general foster care program can work, we do expect a carer to be available as they would be available to their own children. We also expect the primary carer to make themselves available for support groups and training.
8. Can I choose how long I want children and young people to stay with me?
We discuss with you the different types of foster care placements that are needed for our young people and you decide which types of placement would suit you best. If you would prefer emergency or temporary placements you should be aware that it isn’t always possible to know at the beginning of a placement exactly when a child will move on.
9. Can I choose which age group or sex I would prefer to foster?
Yes, you can. However, you are far more likely to have continuous placements if you are willing to take children of all ages. In New South Wales there is currently a shortage of foster carers particularly for older children and for children who have high and complex needs.
10. How much will I know about the child/young person before they are placed with me?
We discuss every placement with our foster carers and it is your decision whether to take a young person. We will provide you with as much information about the young person and his/her background as possible, including any challenging behaviour and how to manage it. However, 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 possible.
11. Will I be taxed on the Fostering Allowances I receive?
Foster care allowances are exempt from taxation and are not cited as income for any purpose, including yearly tax returns, applications for Commonwealth benefits or when applying for loans from financial institutions.