Five & Foster
Becky: Australian Foster Caring
Hello everyone, I’m a bio-mum of three and a future foster carer! Hubby and I are at the end of our foster care application process and are awaiting our final approval!
We are young parents, aiming to share resources, create a support network, share the ups and downs of fostering and walk you through the application process.
Watch this space: more info coming soon.
Our Ever-Evolving Home
When you are here, you are home
When setting up our home, we needed to be flexible, adaptable and open minded. As the needs of our ever changing and growing family are never set in stone. We aim to ensure that when children are here they feel at home.
To do this we make sure we have plenty of space for children to explore, play, learn and grow. An abundance of resources, games, activities, toys and art supplies. As well as enough bedding and physical room for our biological children and our foster children too (who’s needs can be varying and vast).
Sunshine Girl’s Room (Age 6)
Our eldest daughter “Sunshine Girl” is nurturing, creative, messy, funny, caring and a lover of the arts. Her room is her space, where she can play, dance, perform, sing (loudly) and play dress ups.
Darling Boy’s Room (Age 5)
Darling boy’s room is his pride and joy, he loves to share, run, explore, build (and destroy), play and imagine. He is our nearest child and loves to have everything set up his way and keep his toys sorted.
Bubby Woo’s Nursery (11 months)
This is our quiet space, for Bubby Woo to unwind and sometimes escape the chaos of the rest of our home. She is a very calm and content baby; and enjoys her quiet time. Her room will be constantly changing as she grows and as her needs and interests change.
Foster Room (Age 2-6)
This bed has bedding and accessories for boys or girls, who when staying with us can choose how they would like to style their space and make it feel like their home. We have a range of toys, games, writing books and activities suited for any child.
We are currently working on expanding this room to make sure we have the capacity for younger children. We have clothing suited for either gender for sizes 0000 all the way to size 6, shoes, an extra car seat etc. We continue to expand our collection.
Our living area has plenty of room for family time, filled with bored games, learning activities, blocks and baby toys. We have a generous 10-seater couch and love to spend time down here as a family, always ensuring all of the children feel included.
Kids’ Study Nook
Having a quiet place to do school reader books, homework, draw and create is fantastic for the kids - especially as they get older. Sunshine Girl utilises this space the most. The house is full of educational posters, the kids are always learning and being challenged.
It is so easy to feel like the house is overflowing with toys, games, blocks and educational resources. In our home there is method to the madness. Everything has a home, an order and a purpose. The kids have a lot of fun in this area reading to the baby and teaching her new things.
We are so privileged in Australia to be in a warm and beautiful part of the world. Keeping the kids active, outside and using their imagination is so important to us. We eat a lot of our family meals out here, do most of our artwork and play outside too.
Play Equipment (and more...)
In the backyard we currently have kids soccer nets, basketball hoops, cones for playing sports, a totem tennis pole and small playground set up. The kids can spend hours out here, playing as a team or in solo play.
Our Foster Care Application
The process of applying for Foster Care in Australia differs for each person. Each state is governed by their own legislation, and whether you chose to foster directly through the state, or through a private agency, you will be lead by their policies and procedures.
This process from initial enquiry to certification can take 6-12 months depending on a lot of factors. We were really lucky to be with a flexible, informative and wonderful agency, who worked with our schedules (not against them) and helped the process run smoothly. They said we were their “fastest applicants ever” to go through the whole process in 8 weeks, with the exception of government checks - one of which we are still awaiting.
After the initial enquiry, when you decide to start moving forward and proceed with the application this is the general process (the order and steps may differ depending on your location).
• Initial interview
• Home & vehicle inspections
• Physical & mental health assessments
• Personal & professional parenting references
• Working with children check
• Police (background) check
• Child protection order check
• Shared lives training
• Step-by-step assessment (delving deep into finances, your background, how you were raised, supports, family, communication style, trauma, grief, parenting skills, relationship strengths and weaknesses etc - very personal assessment that usually takes five days)
• After this the agent writes a huge report (often 60 pages long) summarising you as candidate/s to be reviewed by an independent panel who do not know you and have no bias in the case
• Once called upon, the panel meets, determines how many foster children you are suitable to care for, their ages and genders, their background and culture, the length and type of care etc.
Then just like that *congratulations* you are authorised Foster Carers. It sounds like a lot, and it is a huge and lengthy process for a reason - to ensure child safety, to make sure that carers have adequate training and are prepared to care for “looked after children” and have the resources, skills and appropriate background for this.
When you have a patient, flexible and resourceful agency like we do, who are so comfortable communication and being transparent and honest, it makes the process a lot easier and way less frustrating to navigate! If you have any questions feel free to message me on Instagram.