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Below we have offered answers to some of the most commonly asked fostering questions here in Western Australia. For any further information please contact the office on (08) 9431 9300 or complete our short online enquiry form and we will get back to you.
1. What is the difference between a non-government fostering agency and the Department for Child Protection?
The demand for fostering outstrips the ability for the Department for Child Protection to supply this service. Non-government fostering agencies such as Key Assets work in partnership with them to fill the gap. We have our own staff to ensure that the needs of the carers and children are serviced to the highest possible standard.
2. What sort of children and young people are referred to Key Assets?
We accept children and young people from a wide range of situations. These children may have complex histories and display challenging behavioural patterns. Our carers receive high levels of support and training in order to help these children. Learn more about the children we foster.
3. Who can apply to be a foster carer with Key Assets?
Anyone can apply to be a foster carer. It does not matter if you are married, partnered or single.
To become a foster carer with us, you must satisfy certain requirements:
Visit the who can foster page to learn more.
4. Would previous convictions prevent someone from fostering?
A previous criminal conviction would not necessarily disqualify you from fostering; it would depend on the nature of the conviction and when it occurred. It is standard for us to check police records at an early stage in the application. This information would remain confidential at all times. Further information can be found on the how to become a foster carer page.
5. What sorts of checks are carried out on me and my home?
Key Assets undertakes an assessment process that includes a criminal records check, checks with the Department for Child Protection and a standard safety check on your home. Key Assets also seeks information about your general health from your GP and speaks to personal and employer referees nominated by yourself. All foster carers are required to have a Working with Children Check card.
6. If I am going to be the main foster carer, do you need to carry out checks on my partner?
We regard all couples living together as partners in the fostering process so we would require that you both have the necessary checks and training and take part in the assessment process. We also need to carry out checks on anyone in the household over the age of 10, even if you are the main carer.
7. Can a child I foster share a bedroom with one of my own children?
Key Assets will only place a child in a home where he or she will have their own bedroom (unless they are siblings).
8. Can I still go out to work and be a foster carer?
Key Assets provides care to a range of children with a range of needs. Some children will need a Carer to be home full time, whereas with other children Carers may be able to work full or part time. All Carers will be expected to respond to a child’s needs as any parent would. Call us on 1800 932 273 to learn more.
9. Can I choose how long I want children and young people to stay with me?
You can decide which types of placement would suit you best. If you would prefer respite, emergency or short term placements, you do need to be aware that it isn’t always possible to know at the beginning of a placement exactly when a child will move on. Visit the foster care placements page for more information.
10. Can I choose which age group or sex I would prefer to foster?
Yes, you can. However, if you are relying on income from fostering, you are far more likely to have continuous placements if you are willing to take teenagers as well as younger children. We also require carers with sufficient space to take sibling groups. These children are often younger.
11. How much will I know about the young person before they are placed with me?
We will provide you with as much information about the young person and his/her background as possible, including any difficult behaviours, prior to the placement. However, you do need to be aware that initially we may have very little information to offer you, especially in an emergency.
12. Who is responsible for taking the children to school, the doctor, etc?
We would normally expect carers to undertake these tasks. If you have difficulties, your Social Worker would endeavour to make alternative arrangements.
13. Are we allowed to smack foster children?
No form of corporal (physical) punishment is acceptable under the regulations governing fostering. This would include any form of smacking, slapping or shaking. We provide training to all our carers on alternative and effective ways to cope with any difficult behaviour.
14. What sort of help would I get with a child who has special needs or a disability?
If a child has ongoing medical needs, this will be explained to you before the placement is made and you will receive all the assistance necessary. This may include providing specialist equipment or training.
15. What sort of support will I get if I’m finding it difficult to cope?
You will have your own Key Assets Social Worker to support you, and an after-hours duty system for support. Therefore support is available 24/7. Key Assets also has a team of support workers to provide additional support to foster carers and foster children. We provide 21 nights paid respite breaks for carers each year and additional respite breaks if considered necessary.
16. What does the weekly payment cover?
Your weekly payment for each child fostered is intended to cover all living costs such as food, clothes, basic travel, contribution to household bills, children’s pocket money, regular recreational activities, birthday and Christmas gifts, etc. Occasionally, extra contributions can be made. Learn more about fostering payments.
17. What sort of training will I receive?
We hold a ‘Skills to Foster’ training course that usually takes place at a Key Assets office. This training is an opportunity to learn more about fostering and to assist you in making the decision as to whether fostering is right for you. Course attendees report that they find the course extremely enjoyable and informative. Lunch and refreshments are provided. Foster carer training is essential and we support people who attend.
18. If I decide to apply, how long will I have to wait before I begin having placements?
We start the assessment process once your application to foster is received. The assessment includes Criminal Record Checks, Medical Reports and references. The assessment will take approximately 2-3 months. When it is completed and you are approved, you can begin taking placements immediately. Key Assets believes that careful matching of a foster child with a foster carer, along with support, is the key to a successful outcome for everyone.
If you have any further queries or would like to register your interest, call 1800 932 273 or enquire online today.