Everyone is different
Just as we have unique needs, so do the children in need of care. To make sure each child secures the best support for their situation, there are a variety of care types offered throughout NSW. Each type of care is a step on the path to stability for these children and it’s our goal at My Forever Family to ensure that they are safely placed in the care type that best suits their needs.
Planning for permanency
Relative and kinship care
Relative or kinship care is when a child or young person lives with a relative or someone they already know. The preferred option is for children and young people to remain with relatives and kin - ideally where the child already has relationship and connection. We hope that staying with family can be a stable, permanent solution for these children and can assist relative and kinship carers to apply for legal guardianship to ensure this.
When relative or kinship care is not an option, children and young people can find a home with an authorised foster carer. As a foster carer, you’ll provide a sense of family for children in out-of-home care. You may even have your own children living at home, establishing a safe and secure family dynamic for the children you care for. The length of time in care will vary.
There are several types of foster care, including:
If there are concerns for the immediate safety of children and young people, they may be placed in emergency care (also known as immediate or crisis care). If you’re an emergency carer, you may be asked to provide care of children of all ages, including infants and young children. These placements can occur after hours and on weekends. Emergency situations are often unpredictable and can result in taking children in at short notice.
Short-term and medium-term care
Sometimes children need a place to stay while their parents or family are working on making changes so their family can be reunited. Short to medium-term care placements have a strong focus on reuniting the child with their birth parents or extended family within two years of the placement. In some circumstances, a short-term carer may be caring for a child before they move to another carer who is not a relative or kin.
Long-term or permanent care
These are placements for longer than two years. When children and young people can’t return to their family, and guardianship or adoption are not an option, they’ll find a permanent home with a long-term foster carer. In some circumstances, carers can apply to become legal guardians of, or adopt children, who have been in their long-term care.
Your home could be a safe haven for children on an occasional basis. From time to time, parents and carers need a break from their caring role. Respite care provides a secure home for children and young people in these situations, often only for short periods of time such as weekends, once a month or during school holidays.
Intensive Therapeutic Care
Most children in care have come from challenging family situations. Many of these children are dealing with the devastating effects of neglect, abuse, parental drug and alcohol misuse and domestic violence. Intensive Therapeutic Transitional Care (ITTC) is a type of specialised care provided for young people who’ve experienced trauma. Children can be in ITTC for up to 13 weeks, receiving the care and support they need before moving into less intensive types of care.
Step Down Care
Step Down Care helps vulnerable children transition from residential therapeutic care into a family foster care environment.
Learn more about foster care
If you’re interested in providing a stable, nurturing home for a child you already know, you could apply to become their legal guardian.
When the Children’s Court makes the decision that a child cannot return to live with their parents for their own safety, guardianship orders can provide them with a stable and permanent home. Depending on their case plan or court orders, the child may still have contact with their parents, family and other important people in their lives.
If you are a relative or have an established relationship and connection with a child (such as their foster carer), you could become their legal guardian, meaning you’d have full parental responsibility for them until they turn 18.
Read more about Guardianship
Adoption is a powerful and life-changing opportunity. When you adopt a child or young person, all parental rights and responsibilities are permanently moved from the birth parents to you, the adoptive parent. For children and young people who cannot be safely restored to their family, adoption offers them a secure, stable home for life. Should they wish to (and if circumstances allow), your adopted child can still have contact with their birth parents, family and important people in their life.