Become A Carer

a Carer

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“We need people who have the patience, resilience and understanding to support children and young people who may not have had the best start in life.”

Our foster carers are everyday people like you. They are young couples, same sex couples, single people, have children of their own or are retired.

Becoming a carer can be a very rewarding journey for you and your family. By providing a stable, caring family environment for a child or young person you can make a very positive difference to not only the child, but their birth family, and to the world. Becoming a carer is a huge decision, but if you’ve given it some thought and want to know more, we’d love to hear from you. Visit our contact page.

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Foster Carer Training

Helping those that help others...

In NSW, initial training for Foster Carers, Relative Carers and Kinship Carers is based on the Shared Lives training manual.

If you are interested in becoming a Foster Carer this FREE training provides an excellent opportunity to participate in a comprehensive training workshop. You will have the chance to ask questions about Foster Care and get feedback during an interactive and supportive group-learning environment.

Attendance at this training is mandatory if you wish to become an authorised Carer with Youth Care UPA. Shared Lives Training is run over two full days and is usually outside of business hours. Training is also offered on-going to authorised carers to update and build on their skill set.

This training is designed to assist participants make an informed choice about whether caring is an appropriate role for them.

To express your interest, please call our team on 02 6620 4400.

These training sessions are designed to provide information on becoming a foster carer, what is involved in taking on a foster child and preparing prospective carers for the role of fostering.

Please be advised that it is important to obtain your Working With Children Check and attend to your Police Checks prior to attending the training. Please note you will need to bring your completed NPC form with you to the training, along with 100 points of identification so that one of our staff can copy and witness your original identification paperwork.

Thank you again for your interest in Youth Care UPA.

No set age requirements, though it is expected that carers providing long-term care for a child will be able, if necessary, to continue care until the child is able to live independently. All Applicants will undergo a medical check by a registered GP.

Applicant Status
Single, married/defacto, with or without children. Youth Care UPA does not discriminate on the basis of race, colour, sex, nationality, religion, lifestyle choice, sexual preference or socio-economic grounds.

Fertility (where infertility is an issue)
To be eligible to do long term care, an applicant must have finished their involvement with a fertility program for a period of not less than 12 months. Applicants must demonstrate an acceptance of their infertility and an understanding of the impact of infertility upon each of them as an individual and as a family.

An applicant’s health (both physical and mental) shall be such as to ensure he or she is able to undertake the task of fostering. For applicants for long-term care, this may involve raising the child to adulthood.

Financial Resources
In general, applicants who provide long-term care should have adequate financial resources.

Applicants should have adequate, safe accommodation for a child. This does not mean that applicants should necessarily own their own home. A bedroom must be available for a foster child.

Applicants must live in the Far North Coast of NSW area.

Caring Skills
Applicants must demonstrate an ability to undertake the special responsibilities involved in caring for a foster child. Carers must be able to:

  • draw on and apply personal experiences appropriately in dealing with the tasks of fostering
  • work effectively as a team with staff from our agency, other organisations and birth parents
  • promote the positive development of children and young people in foster care
  • provide a safe and compassionate environment that is free from abuse

Involvement with the agency
Applicants must be willing to participate in the initial training and assessment process.

Applicants must demonstrate a capacity to work with Youth Care UPA in order to meet the changing needs of a child or young person. This will involve a willingness and ability to communicate with the agency, participate in planning and reviewing of the child’s care, and participate in ongoing training.

Birth family contact
Applicants must demonstrate an understanding of the importance of the origins, culture and past experience of the child or young person in their care. Applicants must demonstrate an acceptance of the agency’s commitment to ongoing contact between the child and his/her birth parents and a willingness to facilitate such contact.

Care of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people
Our agency has a commitment to placing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people with carers who share their cultural background.

Carers who identify as being Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander are asked to provide proof of this (eg, a letter from a Land Council) and details of the community to which they belong if they wish to provide foster care for a child from their own cultural background.

Discipline of children or young people
Carers are expected to work closely with agency staff in developing appropriate discipline strategies for the particular child or young person in their care. Foster carers are not allowed to use any physical force to discipline foster children.

Applicants must demonstrate an ability to effectively discipline children without the use of physical punishments eg. hitting. It is very important that foster children are disciplined in a way that sends a strong message to them that they are cared for in spite of their behaviour. Experience has shown that hitting or other physical punishment is not effective in dealing with these children. As children in care have experienced abuse in the past usually have not experienced consistent caring parenting.

Our agency has a behaviour management policy which guides carers on how they can appropriately discipline children.

Health and hygiene standards
Carers are expected to confirm to guidelines designed to ensure that children are being cared for in a healthy environment. Such guidelines include the practice of universal infection control and ensuring that there is no smoking within the home. Training is provided to carers about health and hygiene standards.

Application to other agencies
Applicants must advise of previous applications to become a carer with other agencies in Australia and overseas and the outcomes of those applications. Applicants will be asked for permission for our agency to contact others to whom you have previously applied.



Process – Youth Care
Becoming a carer involves a number of steps. Firstly you will contact us to register your interest, then we will pass on further information for you to read and consider.

If you are still interested in applying to be a carer, you will then need to send us an official Registration of Interest form. When you do that we will arrange an initial “Information Exchange Session.” 

The “Information Exchange Session” gives you and the people in your household an opportunity to meet with workers from our agency and an experienced carer.

After this session you can decide whether you wish to continue the process of becoming a carer by participating in a training program and a series of assessment interviews. The assessment interviews are not something you pass or fail. We work with you to discover together whether fostering is a suitable option for you and your family at this time. 

Once you have been approved as a carer, you will be approached when a child or young person is matched with the type of care you can provide. You will have the opportunity to discuss any issues that may be raised for you and your household if you accept the placement of that child or young person. Usually it is possible for you to meet the child or young person before you make the decision about taking that placement.

Does the assessment process involve doing tests?
No, the assessment process is designed to enable our agency and you to make an informed decision together. At each stage in the process you will be given feedback.

This may include identifying issues that may impact on your ability to provide foster care.

What will the assessment interviews cover?
Because being a foster carer is such an important task, you will be asked about many aspects of your life relevant to being a foster carer. In particular, we will look at your ability to:

  • draw from and apply your own personal experiences to the tasks of fostering
  • provide good quality day to day care for children and young people
  • provide a safe and nurturing environment
  • work with other people, particularly staff from our agency and other organisations and birth parents.


What does the medical check involve?

During the assessment:

  • you will be asked to complete a Health checklist
  • your doctor will be asked to complete a Medical Questionnaire

The purpose of these checks is to determine if you have the physical and psychological health to undertake the task of fostering. Questions are asked about:

  • physical health
  • emotional health
  • current and past illnesses and medical problems
  • use of drugs (prescribed and non-prescribed)
  • smoking

If any medical issue arises that may affect your suitability to foster, it will be discussed with you fully to help us work out together its potential impact on children or young people in your care.

What does the accommodation check involve?
This is a check to ensure that you are able to provide housing that is physically safe and suitable. The check is carried out by a member of the assessment team.

What should our references cover?
You will be asked to provide the name of two unrelated people who have known you for at least two years and can comment on your experience and ability to care for children and your personal character. We may also speak to other people who have contact with you.

What does the criminal check involve?
When you have completed a formal application to become a foster carer (not just registered your interest), with your permission, our agency checks the criminal record of all people in your household 16 years or above. Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you or a family member from being a carer family.

However, any criminal convictions that affect your ability to care safely for a child or young person will mean your application is not able to proceed.

Specifically you will be asked to:

  • make a Prohibited Employment Declaration that you have not been convicted of any serious sex offence which prohibits you from applying to be a foster carer
  • consent to check to allow screening of your criminal and work record in relation to sexual misconduct and acts of violence involving children

For more information, please visit

Can I appeal if my application to be a foster care is not approved by your agency?
Yes. You are entitled to be given reasons why your application has been rejected and have the decision reviewed. You are entitled to see all the material collected in the process of assessment, except for personal references which may be treated as confidential.



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    Becoming a carer can be a very rewarding journey for you and your family. By providing a stable, caring family environment for a child or young person you can make a very positive difference to not only the child, but their birth family, and to the world. Becoming a carer is a huge decision, but if you’ve given it some thought and want to know more, we’d love to hear from you here.

    To express your interest in attending Shared Lives Foster Care Training please call our team on 02 6620 4400.