Our carer support services

Foster carers are ordinary people doing extraordinary things for children and we truly value their passion and efforts 

Our commitment to you

Opening your home to a child in need is one of the biggest decisions of your life, but you are not alone. Barnardos is committed to supporting you on your foster care journey. We want to help you feel confident, motivated, and proud that your nurturing and love is providing the best care for your child.

Caring for a child is rewarding, but it can also be physically and emotionally demanding. Being a carer brings with it periods of uncertainty and pressure – whether your care is for short or long term. This is why we want you to always feel supported.

Together we can provide the best outcomes for children.

Any questions? Get in touch


How we support our foster carers

Barnardos makes sure you have everything you need to succeed as a foster carer so that together, we can provide the best care for every child. This includes specialised training, 24/7 support, financial assistance, respite care, peer connections, and your own case manager.


Specialised Training

We provide comprehensive training to equip foster carers with the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the challenges faced by children in care. The training covers a variety of topics, including trauma-informed care, behaviour management, and understanding the child protection system as well as caring for yourself.

24/7 Support

We understand that foster care can come with unexpected situations and challenges. That's why our team of experienced professionals is available around the clock to provide support, guidance, and advice whenever you need it. Whether it's a late-night call or a home visit, we are here to lend a helping hand.

Financial Assistance

We provide tax-free financial support to our foster carers to help cover the costs associated with caring for a child. This support covers expenses such as food, clothing, travel, and activities. Our aim is to alleviate any financial burden, allowing foster carers to focus on providing a nurturing environment for the children in their care.

Respite Care

We understand that foster care can be emotionally demanding, and everyone needs a break from time to time. That's why our respite care services offer foster carers the opportunity to take a well-deserved rest while ensuring that the children are in safe and caring hands. We provide trained respite carers who can step in when needed, giving foster carers the chance to recharge and rejuvenate.

Peer Support

Being a foster carer can sometimes feel isolating, but you are never alone at Barnardos. We offer support groups and events where foster carers can connect, share experiences, and build meaningful relationships. These connections provide invaluable support, encouragement, and a sense of community.

Case Manager

Your own personal Barnardos case manager will be with you every step of the way. Our case managers provide a clear plan for the child’s care and are there for emotional support and practical knowledge. They can help you with any questions about the child in your care and your role and responsibilities as a carer.

A heartfelt thank you to all the remarkable foster carers for their unwavering devotion, tireless efforts, and boundless compassion in creating a nurturing environment for children in need.

Our foster carers are ordinary people doing
extraordinary things for children

Play Video

Meet Sharon, a Barnardos foster carer

I do it because I just love working with the families and working with the little kids. It’s really nice to see the family have that break, as they may not see it as a break at the time. They’re getting their stuff together while you’re helping them with their child. Every child brings a new personality into the world and a new challenge, and that’s what I enjoy the most.

It’s been quite educational for my children, they now realize that life isn’t just a bed of roses, that there are hard times out there and families do face difficult times. The caseworkers are amazing, they’re there to support you at any beck and call that you have. I’ve had them turn up at my house, and they’re folding laundry with me! They’re really good at what they do, and they’re extremely supportive.

I think everyone’s got it in them. I’m certainly not amazing. I’m just compassionate and passionate about what I do and to be their advocate. And I think it’s not hard. It’s sad to let them go, it is really sad when you have spent so much time, and you just love them. But it’s really nice to see them go on and have the life that they so rightfully deserve.

They’re not my children. I didn’t give birth to them. They have a family, but they’re mine to love and nurture until that end date, whenever that end date is. You meet a family or an adoptive parent that comes into it, it’s just beautiful. So there’s no way you could stand in the way, and anyone can let go of them. I think when you see what they’ve got as a future, yeah, it’s not that hard to let go.

Wondering if you're eligible to be a foster carer?

At Barnardos Australia, we welcome individuals and families from diverse backgrounds who have a genuine passion for making a positive difference in the lives of children. If you’re considering opening your heart and home to a child in need, here are some of the requirements for becoming a foster carer in NSW:

  • Age and residency: You must be at least 25 years old and a permanent resident or citizen of Australia to become a foster carer (with exceptions made for Kinship carers). There is no upper age limit at Barnardos.
  • Relationship status: You can be single, married, or in a defacto relationship (heterosexual or same sex relationship).
  • Culture and religion: We welcome carers from all cultural and religious backgrounds.
  • Safe and stable environment: Foster carers need to provide a safe and stable living environment for children. This includes having appropriate sleeping arrangements, a clean and comfortable home, and access to basic amenities.
  • Health and well-being: Your physical and mental health plays a crucial role in providing effective care. As part of the assessment process, you’ll need to undergo a medical examination and provide relevant health and immunisation records.
  • Smoking status: In accordance with health advice Barnardos seeks to mitigate the impact of second-hand smoke on children in care and therefore does not allow foster carers to be smokers (some exceptions made for Kinship carers).
  • Capacity for parenting: Foster carers should have a child-focused approach and be flexible to meet the needs of children and young people. You should have a willingness to approach a child’s culture with humility, respect and curiosity and an ability to build strong relationships and connections with a child or young person, their family, and the agency and other professionals.
  • Criminal history check: As part of the application process, you’ll be required to undergo a thorough criminal history check to ensure the safety of children in care.
  • Working with Children check: All foster carers must hold a valid Working with Children Check clearance, which helps ensure the safety and well-being of the children placed in your care.
  • Training and support: Foster carers are expected to participate in training and development programs to enhance their skills and knowledge in caring for children who have experienced trauma or challenging circumstances. Barnardos provides comprehensive training opportunities and ongoing support to help you navigate the foster care journey.

If you meet these criteria and have a genuine desire to make a positive impact in the lives of children, we encourage you to consider becoming a foster carer with Barnardos. Together, we can provide a safe and nurturing environment for children in need, empowering them to reach their full potential.

Take the first step today and apply to become a foster carer with Barnardos Australia. Your support can change a child’s life forever.


What is Care Allowance?

Fortnightly payments

Tax-free and not means-tested

Rate changes yearly

Not affected by benefits

As a foster carer you will receive financial support to assist with the day-to-day costs of caring for a child. The Care Allowance is based on the age and assessed needs of the child in your care and aligned to NSW state government rates. You may also be eligible for a range of other financial assistance, all of which we will assist you with.

Carer Allowance at Barnardos is higher than (but based on) DCJ care allowance rates.
Note: short-term carer rates are even higher due to the increased demands involved.

Care Allowance covers these expenses:

Caring for children from diverse cultures

Preserving a child’s heritage is so important, as it plays a key role in their development, sense of identity and self-esteem. Barnardos is committed to working with you, your child and their families to ensure this. You’ll receive a personalised Cultural Plan for your child to make sure their cultural needs are met, with your case manager always there for guidance.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are placed in the care of relatives, kin or another member of their community wherever possible although on rare occasions it may be necessary to place a child in foster care. It’s essential to acknowledge the importance of culture to their wellbeing and we will work as a team to make sure they remain connected to their culture.

Foster care support FAQs

We provide comprehensive training to make sure you have all the knowledge and skills necessary to understand the challenges faced by children in care. Once you have completed your initial training, we have ongoing carer training available throughout the year to work around your availability.

Training is a useful way for carers to gain and share valuable knowledge and skills around caring for a child, and to make you feel more confident in your carer role. Training can also be a good way to meet and socialise with other carers.

Yes, foster carers receive a tax-free allowance to contribute to the day-to-day living costs of any child placed in their care.

Financial support for a child with additional needs may be provided if recommended through their health assessment. This generally includes funding for relevant therapeutic support services. If you care for a child with a disability or chronic medical condition, you may also be eligible for additional government payments to assist with related costs.

We provide you with all the training you need to be a foster carer, but there are also some great resources online for you to look at to deepen your knowledge on foster care training if you wish. We recommend:

There are many ways you can take a break depending on your specific situation and the best interests of the child in your care. Your case manager will help find alternative care options that could include extended family members or friends, licensed childcare services, recreational activities or Barnardos respite foster carers. Help is always available.


Our carers share their stories

Karen and James
Play Video about Karen and James

Meet Karen and James

Foster Carer Widja
Play Video about Foster Carer Widja

Meet Anna & Widja

Sandy Permanent Foster Carer
Play Video about Sandy Permanent Foster Carer

Meet Sandy

Foster Carer Dalal
Play Video about Foster Carer Dalal

Meet Dalal

Kate and Katelynd - from permanent care to open adoption
Play Video about Kate and Katelynd

Meet Katelynd and Kate

Enquire about foster care

We're happy to answer any questions you have around foster care.