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About Foster & Kinship Care

Mercy Community Services - Family Services cares for children who are unable to stay at home because of their protective needs. We provide foster and kinship care services in the areas of Caboolture, Brisbane, Logan, Beaudesert, Redlands, Greater Ipswich and South West Queensland.

Foster carers are people living in the community who have the capacity to care for other children and who, after a period of training and assessment, have been approved as suitable carers.

Kinship carers are people from within a child’s own family or community who assume the responsibility of caring for the child.

Intensive foster care provides additional resources to foster carers who are looking after children with particularly challenging behaviours. These additional resources may include supplementary payments, respite care and extra services to help the child.

In all our out-of-home care programs, we strive to respond to the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children, their families and communities, as well as families and communities from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Our foster care programs are based at our centres in Goodna, Logan, Brisbane (Nudgee), Caboolture, Toowoomba and Warwick.

What is foster and kinship care?

Foster and kinship care is providing a safe, secure and supportive home for children and young people, from birth to 18 years, who are unable to live with their families.

Children and young people need foster care for all sorts of reasons. Sometimes it is because a parent is unwell or they have limited personal resources or support around them. Or it may be because of poverty, homelessness or serious abuse and neglect. Poor housing, unemployment, ill-health and social isolation, as well as  disability, can be factors that contribute to a child or young person entering foster and kinship care. Whatever the reasons, it is important to recognise that those reasons may not be the fault of the child or their family.

The aim of foster and kinship care is to reunite children with their families, as it is recognised that, if it is safe, the best place for a child to be is in the care of their family. Unfortunately, this is not always possible.

Children and young people can be in foster and kinship care for differing lengths of time. Foster carers care for children and young people for a few nights or a few weeks or, in some cases, until a child reaches adulthood.

Children and young people in foster or kinship care are just like other children, except that they are likely to have experienced abuse and harm and, as a result, are often traumatised. They need patient and caring adults who can offer them support and understanding.

What are the different types of foster care? 

Family-based care is provided by foster and kinship carers. It is the most common type of care arrangement for children who cannot live at home. Depending on your circumstances and the commitment you may be able to make, there are different types of family-based care which may suit you, your family and your lifestyle.

Short-term care
Short-term carers provide ongoing, day-to-day care to children and young people for up to two years while Child Safety works towards reunifying the child with their family.

Long-term care
Long-term care gives children a safe and stable home until they are 18 years of age when they can’t return to live with their family.

Respite care
Some carers provide respite care for long-term foster and kinship carers. These carers choose when they provide care, such as on weekends or during holidays. Often, new carers start out as carers providing short breaks and become full-time foster carers after gaining some experience. Some carers who provide short-term or long-term care may also choose to provide respite care for other carers and children, if it suits their situation.

Emergency care
Emergency carers provide short-term care at short notice for children who urgently need a place to stay. This may be needed when a child first comes into care while a suitable longer term carer is identified, or if they need a home while waiting to move to long-term care. Emergency carers often are skilled in helping children who have experienced abuse and trauma. Some short-term or long-term carers may choose to also be available for emergency care placements.

Intensive foster care
Children may be placed with carers who provide intensive foster care if they require support for complex and special needs. Mercy Community Services is responsible for recruiting, training, assessing and supporting carers to provide intensive foster care. Support for carers of children with complex and special needs includes additional training, financial support and respite.

As a foster or kinship carer, you can provide respite, emergency, intensive, short or long-term care. You can choose the age and gender of children you are willing to care for. Whatever you choose to do, your commitment will be valued.

Are you thinking about becoming a foster and kinship carer?  We would love to hear from you!

Alternatively, get in touch with one of our foster and kinship care offices directly through the contact details below.

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