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Caring for Children
Owned and managed by Department of Communities & Justice

Become a foster carer

Children and young people need to enter care for all sorts of reasons and can come into care at all ages. They need safe and caring environments for however long it takes to return them to their family or determine the best permanent placement. NSW is also looking for more respite carers who will provide short breaks to foster, relative/kin carers a few times a year.

How will my carer application be assessed?

During assessment, a range of issues will be explored and assessed. This information will be kept strictly confidential and only used in the foster care application process.

Criminal record check

It is a legal requirement to have a criminal record check done on you and other members of your household. These are only done with your permission.

The check applies to all people living in your house aged 16 or over and may also be undertaken for anyone in the household over 14 years, if there are issues of concern.

Having a criminal record does not automatically disqualify you or a family member from becoming a carer.

Specifically, you will be asked to:

  • make a Prohibited Employment Declaration that you have not been convicted of a serious sex offence that prohibits you from becoming a foster carer
  • consent to a Working with Children Check to allow screening of your criminal and work record in relation to sexual misconduct and acts of violence involving children.

Health check

You will be asked to complete a health checklist and your doctor will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire about your health.

You will be asked about:

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

If any medical issue arises that may affect your suitability to foster, we will discuss it with you to work out together the likely impact on any children or young people in your care.

Referee checks

You will be asked to provide the name of at least two unrelated people who have known you for at least two years and can comment on your personal character and ability to care for children.

Accommodation check

As part of the assessment, we will conduct a check to make sure that your home is appropriate and a physically safe environment.

History check

A check will be done to see if you have previously been reported to Community Services.

If you are known to Community Services, you are not automatically disqualified, however any Community Services history that affects your ability to care safely for a child or young person will mean your application will not be able to proceed.

Previous foster carer check

If you have been a foster carer or applied to be a foster carer for another agency, there will be a check of your history.