Permanent foster care

Be a champion for children by joining our fostering program. You can make a big difference to children's lives.

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What is permanent foster care?

Permanent fostering is a part of our foster care program. Whilst Barnardos believes in keeping children and families together wherever possible sometimes a child cannot return safely to their birth parents or family members. This is where permanent foster carers are needed to provide a safe and secure environment until they reach the age of 18 years or are ready to move on to independent living. Generally children requiring care will be 0-12 years of age. 

Being a foster carer is a hugely rewarding experience but it’s not without it’s challenges. We provide 24/7 foster carer support so that you are never alone on your fostering journey and always feel supported and confident. You also get an allowance, comprehensive training and ongoing learning to build your skills and knowledge.


Support for permanent foster carers


Undergo foster care training

Comprehensive initial training is provided so you can be confident in your abilities

24/7 on-call support

Guidance is available any time of the day or night to help you in a crisis

Access to foster care payments

Permanent foster carers get a tax-free allowance to contribute to the costs of caring for a child

Ongoing learning & events

Training opportunities are available throughout your fostering journey

Why we need more foster carers

More than 45,000 children in Australia are unable to live safely with their birth families. Foster carers give children and young people a safe, stable and nurturing family environment for a few months, years or for the rest of their lives through open adoption.

We believe in our foster carers and provide constant guidance and support to ensure the carer and the child’s needs are met.


Why become a permanent foster carer?

By becoming a foster carer you can help children and young people, like Ben, overcome their difficult start to life and reach their full potential.

Play Video about forster-care-open-adoption-ben-story

How foster care changed Ben's life

I was placed in foster care at nine and remained in the system until I was 18. My mum couldn’t care for me so the best decision was for me to be removed.

It was traumatic. Imagine yourself as a nine-year-old child who’d just been taken away by police and placed into foster care. I had a lot of issues to deal with but overtime, more and more fantastic people entered my life and things began to improve.

I went through about five different foster care placements [through other agencies] before I finally settled in with my Barnardos foster parents Neill and Vicki. They just understood me and gave me the chance to have a better life. They were the perfect fit. I still had unresolved issues, but they were two people dedicated to making me a better person. That was something that I’d never experienced before. They gave me a stable place to grow. I’d never lived with a dad before and it was so important to have that father figure. Neill’s been amazing, I really wouldn’t want anyone else to have done it because he did a great job.

I remember finally feeling safe and secure when I was at the same school for more than a year (I went to probably about seven different primary schools). I had a big group of mates, a school that I was familiar with and I didn’t feel like I was going to move next week. I’m still friends with kids from high school!

To this day, I believe that going into care was the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s as simple as that. Because if I didn’t go into care, I don’t know where I’d be. I’d probably be homeless or in prison or something very different to the life I currently live.

I am now in University, living on campus and studying a Bachelor of Science majoring in Medicinal Chemistry. When I finish this course, I want to move on to graduate medicine and become a doctor because I want to help people. It’s something that people don’t do enough.

For me, Barnardos is one of the reasons why I’m here. The organisation’s fantastic and I want to see them doing more of what they’ve done with me. Just the level of care and support that I’ve received has been far better than I could have imagined. My foster parents and all the people I’ve associated with have laid the groundwork for me to achieve things on my own. It’s because of their support that I’ve been able to strive for a better future.

Permanent foster care or adoption – what’s the difference?

Whilst permanent foster care obligations end at 18 years of age (or when a young person is capable of independent living), adoption gives children a safe and secure family for life. Having an identity as a member of the adoptive family offers a huge sense of belonging to children. All open adoptions at Barnardos start through permanent fostering.
Learn more about open adoption.

Is permanent foster caring for you? Take our short quiz.

Is all foster care permanent?

Not all foster care is long term, sometimes children may need short-term foster care before they are able to be reunited with their birth family. If the courts rule that this isn’t possible then permanent care is needed to give children a safe and stable home.


Stories from permanent foster carers

Stories from Permanent foster carers

Meet Kerri

A Barnardos permanent foster carer.

Pictured with her foster daughter, Tallesha.

I’ve done all types of care, from taking children in for weekends and school holidays to give other carers a break, to short-term or crisis care.

I’ve developed a lot of patience. Kids aren’t perfect, they’re never going to be perfect. They come from broken homes, so they come with their story, but it’s about teaching them to go forward into the future and that there’s a good future waiting for them.

“The best part of fostering is seeing them grow into beautiful adults.”

People worry about taking on foster children – but they’re not scary, they’re no different – they’re just kids who need love. If you want children in your life, it doesn’t matter if they’re your own or fostered. You just need a big heart and to be there for them. Honesty and trust is the key.  I love our conversations and spending time with them. I wouldn’t change a thing. VIEW MORE FOSTER CARER STORIES

Could you open your heart and home to a child in need?

How do I become a permanent foster carer with Barnardos?

Register your interest below and one of our team will be in touch to make sure you have all the information you need.