My Forever Family NSW is a program operated by Adopt Change and funded by the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. The program provides support, training and services for foster and kinship carers, guardians, and adoptive parents from out-of-home (OOHC). We are the first point of contact for potential carers and guardians, providing information about becoming a carer, permanent care and adoption in NSW. We work with the Department of Communities and Justice (formerly Department of Family and Community Services), and with accredited foster care and adoption agencies throughout NSW to provide information to potential carers across the state and refer you to accredited agencies to begin your caring journey.
For new and existing carers, we have a dedicated Carer Support Team who can provide you with personalised advice, information and support. We also provide training across the state, including remote and regional areas, in person and online, to support you in your important role of caring for children.
Our program was established to:
- recruit carers of all kinds for children in out-of-home care, including foster carers (respite, emergency, restoration, short-term and long term), kinship carers, guardians, and adoptive parents
- Support authorised carers (foster and kinship carers, guardians and adoptive parents from out-of-home care)
- provide extra training for carers
- support carer support groups and mentor programs
- provide support for carers via our phone support line and online
- provide advocacy at a systemic level and a limited amount of advocacy
- work closely with the sector to support collaboration for better outcomes for children in care.
The Carer Support Team exists to help carers provide children and young people with the stability, care, and nurture they need to thrive. We are here to provide a listening ear, useful resources and practical guidance and support. Our team is dedicated to working with individual carers, ensuring they feel heard, equipped, and encouraged in every situation. Our Carer Support Team can provide you with the information and support you need or direct you to resources relevant to your situation.
Our aim is to empower you to advocate for yourself and for the children in your care and to support you to build collaborative relationships with your agency caseworkers to achieve mutual goals in the best Interests of the child or young person in your care.
Sometimes when a situation becomes more complicated than usual, we can provide limited direct support to advocate on behalf of carers. Through our engagement with the state government and child welfare sector, we also advocate for systemic change on behalf of carers and the children they care for.
We’re committed to diversity and inclusion and to ensuring that our service is accessible and appropriate for all carers, including culturally and linguistically diverse carers.
Carers rights and responsibilities
As an individual accessing our service, you can:
- expect to be always treated with respect regardless of your age, culture, sexual preference, religion or disability
- identify and include a support person at any time
- expect to be able to access our service, including having the services of an interpreter if you request one
- request a different staff member if the ‘fit’ isn’t right, and we will try to accommodate your request
- make suggestions to improve the service and provide feedback about our services
- make a complaint to us and/or an outside body (e.g., the NSW Ombudsman) if you are not satisfied with the response, you get and/or you don’t feel comfortable with making your complaint directly to us.
To assist us to be able to provide you with optimal service, we ask you to take responsibility for:
- treating staff with respect
- letting us know if you are unable to keep an appointment
- respecting the rights of other people using our services, including their right to privacy and confidentiality.
The service we provide to you is confidential. We will not share what you discuss with us outside of our service without your explicit agreement. The exception to this is if we identify there may be a danger to yourself or to others and we need to take steps to protect a person’s safety. Where possible, we would talk to you about the need to share your information and who we plan to contact before doing this. The only reason we wouldn’t do this is if we believed that by doing so, we would increase the risk of harm identified.
My Forever Family NSW employees are mandatory reporters. This means that My Forever Family NSW staff are required to make a report to the relevant child protection authority when they have reasonable grounds to suspect that children aged 0-18 years are at risk of significant harm there is sufficient information to make such a report.
Personal information you provide
My Forever Family NSW will generally collect personal information about an individual by way of phone calls, online forms or via email. My Forever Family may collect your personal information in a variety of circumstances including when you, for example:
- contact us for advice or support
- register for My Forever Family NSW training
- participate in research, campaigns, or fundraising activities we organise and/or conduct
- purchase an item from us
- become a My Forever Family NSW member carer
- provide feedback about our services
- attend an event with which we are associated
- subscribe to our newsletter
- interact with us via one of our social media pages.
While you do have the right to seek to deal with us anonymously or by using a pseudonym, in many circumstances it will not be practicable for us to deal with you or provide any services to you except for the most general responses to general enquiries, unless you identify yourself.
Management and security of personal information
Your privacy is important to us. My Forever Family NSW staff are required to respect the confidentiality of personal information and the privacy of individuals. We have in place steps to protect the personal information it holds from misuse, loss, unauthorised access, modification, interference, or disclosure by use of various methods including locked storage of paper records and the use of passwords and multi factor authentication to access digital records. Information is stored on secured networks consistent with industry standards which are only accessible by those employees who have special access rights to such systems.
My Forever Family NSW is bound by the Australian Privacy Principles (the APPs) contained in the Commonwealth Privacy Act 1988 (the Privacy Act) and is committed to complying with the APPs.
My Forever Family NSW endeavours to ensure that the personal information it holds is accurate, complete, and up to date. A person may seek to update their personal information held by My Forever Family NSW by contacting My Forever Family NSW at any time.
Access to service records and other service-related material
My Forever Family NSW documents interactions with service users to enable us to provide continuity of service to our clients and to enable us to report against our contractual obligations to the NSW Department of Communities and Justice. We do not release contact records to carers, except in exceptional circumstances.
Enquiries and privacy complaints
If you have any concerns, complaints or you think that there has been a breach of privacy, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and inform us of the nature of your concern or complaint. We will then investigate your complaint and endeavour to provide you with our response within a reasonable time.
Exchange of information with consent
There may be times where it is appropriate to seek your permission to speak with another person or service to exchange information to be used to provide you with the best possible service available. You can choose to provide or withhold consent for such an exchange. If you are willing to provide consent related to our support services, we will ask you to sign a Consent for Exchange of Information form.
Feedback and complaints
We welcome your feedback about our service. You can provide your feedback or make a complaint by asking to be directed to the Manager:
- emailing us at email@example.com
- phoning us at 1300 782 975
- office hours are Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm.
Depending on which My Forever Family NSW service you access, you may also receive an anonymous survey to provide feedback on your experience with our service.
We aim to respond to and where possible, resolve complaints in a timely manner.
Providing feedback or making a complaint will not disadvantage you in any way.
What happens if I am not satisfied with the response?
Any further complaints can be made directly with the NSW Ombudsman on 9286 1000 or 1800 451 524 (free call outside of Sydney).