Short-term foster care

Make a difference to children and young people by becoming a foster carer and help them reach their brightest future.

Become a carer today

What is short-term foster care?

Short-term foster care is when a child is placed temporarily with a carer for a limited period of time, anywhere from two weeks to two years, usually until the child can be safely reunited with their birth family or a permanent family is found for them.

Short-term foster care is important as it provides stability and security for a child during a time of upheaval or crisis in their life. Short-term foster care can be a stepping stone to permanent foster care, or it can be the child’s only experience of foster care if they are able to return safely to their birth family.


Support for short-term foster carers


Undergo foster care training

A thorough initial training is given so you have all the skills you need

24/7 on-call support

We are available any time of the day or night to help you in a crisis

Access to foster care payments

Short-term carers get a tax-free allowance to contribute to the costs of caring for a child
Miscellaneous- 247_Expanded

Ongoing learning & events

Train and learn throughout your fostering experience

What is expected of a short-term foster carer?

You provide a safe, stable and nurturing family home to support children through this time of change. It’s important you have a child-focused approach to meet the needs of the child and build a strong relationship with them, their family and case workers. Being flexible to meet a child’s individual needs is important.

Barnardos gives foster care support through 24/7 telephone support, training and ongoing learning, to give you confidence in your fostering role. You will be part of a team and never be alone as we provide guidance all the way through your fostering journey.

We provide support every step of the way.


Our goals for short-term foster care

noun_Youth Centre2_3265208


Providing a stable caring home for children and young people at a time of crisis


Barnardos goal is always to restore children back to their families wherever possible


We make sure we meet the needs of the child first and foremost


Providing a smooth transition for children moving to a permanent foster family or open adoption

General questions on short-term foster care

Placement can range from a few months up to a period of two years. If restoration to the birth family is not successful, a plan will be put in place to support the transition of the child or young person into permanent foster care or open adoption.

No, not all foster care is temporary. If the Children’s Court rules that the child cannot be safely reunited with their family, a plan will be developed to ensure a successful transition into permanent foster care or open adoption.

Becoming a foster carer provides an opportunity to make a real difference in the life of a child or young person in need. As a short-term foster carer, you can provide a safe and caring environment for a limited time and help the child work through their issues and develop their skills. You will also have the opportunity to build meaningful relationships with the child and help them transition back to their birth family or into permanent care if needed.

To become a short-term foster carer with Barnardos, you must first complete an application form and attend an information session. Barnardos will then assess if you meet the criteria for becoming a foster carer and provide additional training and support. Once you have been approved, you will be matched with a child or young person in need of care and support. Take the first step by applying to become a foster carer.

"If you're interested in becoming a foster carer, I'd say jump in. It's probably the best thing I've ever done." - Anna

Foster Carer Widja
Play Video about Foster Carer Widja

Meet Anna and Widja

Barnardos short-term foster carers

Anna: The benefit for me of being a short-term foster carer is having little kids that have experienced lots of trauma come in traumatized and then grow to be happy, little bubbly, little people and you get to see that transition and it’s absolutely beautiful.

Widja: With this as a carer, it’s such a good opportunity for me to show my daughters how blessed you are, how lucky you are, compared with other kids, so they are more thankful.

Anna: My kids love that we’re foster carers, that we can give other kids a life that they lived, all the things that they got to do as children now these little kids get to experience in our house. Barnardos pay an allowance, which means I can comfortably stay home and look after my own children and then look after the little children that we have through Barnardos as well.

Widja: I’m searching a job too, while I’m looking after my two daughters. At the moment they are in high school. Three times I got interviewed but no, didn’t get accepted. So we contacted Barnardos, you say, like for four months for training. I said OK we go. At the time when Deb said there’s a little baby that’s waiting for you, I said so excited.

Anna: We’re currently caring for a group of four little boys, a sibling group, one with a disability. They’re all so close in age so that’s makes things a little bit more complicated. We started off with two of the siblings and then I met two of the other siblings, and then I went home and I said to my husband we need to have all four boys together. It’s the only thing they’ve ever had is each other, so it’s important that even though they don’t have mum and dad, they’ve still got each other.

Widja: So when I look after the little girl I saw – ah – this is this is where we belong. That little baby, when we arrive in our home, is bring joy, with my own girls there. So that’s a blessing you know?

Anna: The support received from Barnardos is fantastic. They’re there 24/7 for whatever it is that I need, whether it’s a phone call, a chat, advice, I need help with something. They’re there for anything that I need or anything that the child needs, they’re there 110% for.

Widja: The Barnardos caseworkers are supportive and my manager, Deb, she’s so great. We can contact them, SMS, give them what we need, what was the problem; they will respond to you.

Anna: If you’re interested in becoming a foster carer, I’d say jump in. Make the phone call, contact Barnardos. It is fantastic. It’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done.

Is short-term foster caring for you? Take our short quiz.


Other types of foster care

Respite foster care

Become a foster carer and change a child's world.

Enquire about becoming a short-term foster carer

We'll make sure you get all the information you need.