Foster families provide an extremely valuable community service by creating a safe, supportive environment for children when they need it and enabling children (where possible) to be reunited with their families.

What is involved?

Fostering is about looking after children in your own home for a period of time, as requested by the Department of Child Protection.

The aim of fostering is to help a family through a difficult time; it may be just overnight, for a week, or months. In some cases, a child will not be able to return home and will need to be cared for until they become independent.

Foster Carers are reimbursed for the basic costs of caring for a child, calculated on the basis of the child’s age and the presence of any special needs.

General Family Based Care

General Family Based Carers are people who care for children who are under the care of the Child Protection Minister. Within General Family Based care, there are a number of different types of care that can be provided; listed below.


Gives full-time foster carers or birth families a regular break, perhaps for a weekend every month or a week in the school holidays.


For children who need an urgent placement because there are concerns for their immediate safety (from 1 night to 1 week).

Short Term

Can be from 1 week, to 1 month, to 1 year, with the plan to reunite children with their birth families.

Long Term

When it becomes apparent that a child will not be able to return home and no safe family or kin can be sourced, long term care placements are required until the child is 18 or until they become independent.

Specialist Family Based Care

Specialist Family Based Care is for children with high and complex needs who require a long term stable care in the home environment.  This can include children and young people who have suffered trauma and abuse, or who have disabilities or special needs.

Specific Child Only

Specific Child Only carers are people who care for children who are either related to them (blood relations) or who have a relationship with the child, their family or community.  Specific Child Only Carers are only approved to care for specific children and not General Foster Care.

What more should I know?

Foster Carers are required to participate in mandatory trainings and will be reviewed annually regarding their ability to continue fostering.

Foster Carers will be registered through the Department for Child Protection once Centacare Catholic Country SA has completed the assessment process.

Centacare Catholic Country SA is funded by the Department for Child Protection to recruit, assess, train and support Foster Carers.

A Foster Carer will need to have:

  • Warmth and sensitivity to reassure and care for traumatised children and young people.
  • Commitment to actively support the children/young people’s links with their birth family.
  • A team spirit to work with other people from various organisations.
  • Safe, stable and adequate accommodation, relationships and environment.
  • Flexibility to see things from another’s point of view and be able to adapt own parenting style, daily program and expectations for others.

For more information, please use our enquiry form at the top of this page,  contact your local Centacare Catholic Country SA office (Ceduna, Port Lincoln, Whyalla Central) and request an information pack, or arrange an appointment.

If you are interested in more information, click here for a copy of Centacare’s Fostering Hope Booklet