7 May

Queensland Foster and Kinship Carer Week 2024

Today is the first day of Foster and Kinship Carer Week, a time for celebration and recognition of those who open their hearts and homes to children in need.  

As one of Queensland’s leading foster and kinship care agencies, we’re currently supporting more than 1,600 of Queensland’s 6,000 foster and kinship carers. 

Over the last five years, the number of carers has increased. Unfortunately, however, there’s still a high need for more people to volunteer their time to help more than 11,000 young Queenslanders who are not able to live with their families. 

There are plenty of good reasons to think about becoming a carer. If you’re someone who has a desire to support your local community, has the time and resources, and wants children to feel safe and happy – you might have what it takes to become a carer.  

Types of carers 

We need more people – everyday people, like you, to make an extraordinary difference to the lives of young people. There are a range of care options available to suit your lifestyle, including long-term, short-term, respite and emergency care. Listed below are some of the different types of care options that are available and some experiences of carers who have, or are, providing these types of care. 

Long-term placements 

Long-term care is a type of care option provided to children and young people who can’t return home after two years of being in out-of-home care. A child can remain in long-term placement until they’re 21 or can be reunited with their birth families once they’re 18.  

During their time as carers, Deb and Steve have cared for more than 100 young people, while raising five of their own biological children.  

“My husband and I have provided a range of care to young people; including emergency and long-term placement…We have an 18-year-old living with us who has been in care since he was five. He was only meant to be a short-term placement until the Department were able to find him a place to stay long-term. Due to his high care needs, it was difficult to find another foster carer for him. At the time, my husband and I were only taking on respite and emergency placements. However, a few days with him turned into weeks and then weeks turned into months and our whole family had fallen in love with him.”  

Read more about their story here.  

Short-term placements 

The primary goal of foster care is to reunite a child with their birth family when it’s safe to do so. Until then, many children require short-term care. 

Mark and Jenny were foster carers for 42 years. Last year was their last year of caring for young people.  

“We have classed nine children as our family, over the years… You’ve got to be a strong person and if you want to do it enough – you’ll do it. At the end of the day, you are saving somebody’s life. Whether it be for a year or three, you’re making a difference… We’ve been there to see the kids grow up and we’ve been able to call them our family. I wouldn’t change it for the world.” 

Click here to learn more about Mark and Jenny’s experience. 

Respite care 

This type of care option offers a break for primary carers, either on a regular, planned basis or (sometimes) in emergency situations. Respite carers work with primary carers to provide foster children care for weekends, during school holidays or over major holidays. 

Alan is a primary and respite carer. 

“I offer help and care in several ways for a mix of kids… [including] three younger boys who come separately on alternate weekends. So, I normally only have one weekend a month without a visit from a child needing respite care. It’s a chance to give other carers a break and the kids really enjoy coming over for a weekend to stay with my son and I.” 

Learn more about Alan’s story as a carer, here. 

Emergency care 

Emergency carers help children and young people who urgently require care, generally short-term and with short notice. People who provide this type of care tend to have more experience with helping children who’ve experienced complex abuse or trauma.  

Kinship care 

Kinship care is care that’s provided to children or young people by their extended family, community or cultural network. To become a kinship carer to a young person, you need to already have a significant connection to them. 

What can you do to support carers in your community?  

If you can’t become a carer or are not quite ready to become one, but would still like to make a difference, there are plenty of ways you can get behind existing carers in your community. If you know a carer, you could: 

  • Offer to prepare a frozen meal to ease the load of household cooking; 
  • Offer to take turns with school pick-up and drop off; 
  • Provide respite care for children on weekends or holidays. Click here to become a respite carer 
  • Donate toys and supplies to help new children transition into their new homes;  
  • Educate yourself and others on the facts about foster care to debunk myths and misconceptions that may exist within your wider community. 

Anglicare Southern Queensland’s Foster and Kinship Care Service Manager for the Gold Coast, Steve, said, “There are so many that people can support foster children, even if they aren’t able to become a carer. This could be signing up as a Pyjama Angel, where you commit to reading to a young person each week, to donating goods, to contacting us and linking up with a carer in your area to provide informal support for their young person. Whether it’s driving them to school one day a week or just having a cup of coffee with a carer to provide them with an outlet.” 

For more information on foster care and what it takes to become a foster carer, please visit our resource library on our website. It contains plenty of information about what the process looks like, facts and how to get your family involved.