About foster care 

Foster care is caring for a child or young person (birth to 17 years) within a safe, nurturing home environment. This can be for a few days, a weekend a month, a few weeks or much longer.

Children in care come from a variety of backgrounds and social situations. While there are many reasons why children and young people come into care, most have suffered abuse, neglect or trauma.

Foster care is required when there isn’t an extended family member or members of a child’s social network to care for them (known as kinship care).

 

Become a foster carer

In Victoria, the number of children who cannot live safely at home has risen every year over the last ten years.

No matter what your background, relationship status, sexual orientation, or whether you’re working, studying or retired, Berry Street is looking for people just like you who can care for a vulnerable child or young person.

Children in care have experienced trauma — they need a safe, nurturing home environment to help them recover. If you are over 21 and have a spare bedroom, we welcome your enquiry.

To find out about eligibility and to get started, you can:

 

Types of foster care

Being a foster carer is more flexible than you might think

We are seeking carers to provide:

  • Respite care (one or two weekends a month)
  • Emergency care (for children who require an immediate placement)
  • Short-term care (a few weeks to six months)
  • Long-term care (more than six months)

You can choose the type of care you would like to provide, and we’ll support you in your decision-making process.

The common goal is to reunify children or young people with their families eventually, provided this is in the best interests of the child. Where possible, the birth family will be supported so that the child can be safely returned home.

Not ready to become a carer? There are many other ways you can get involved with Berry Street

Foster carer support  

As a Berry Street foster carer, you receive:
 
  • a dedicated case worker
  • 24-hour support and practical help from experienced Berry Street staff
  • ongoing training and support programs to help develop skills you will use as a foster carer
  • financial support in the form of a fortnightly, tax-free reimbursement
  • social opportunities to network with other carers.
To learn more about the support you will receive, read our frequently asked questions or register for an information session.

 

More foster carers urgently needed in Victoria 

1 in 33 children across Australia need child protection services

1 in 33 children across Australia need child protection services.

Almost 11,000 Victorian children cannot live safely at home

Almost 11,000 Victorian children cannot live safely at home*.

28% of Victorian children in care are under five years old

More than a quarter of Victorian children in care are under five years old – that’s over 2,000 children.

children in care in Victoria has increased by 27% in the last five years.

The number of children in care in Victoria has increased by 27% in the last five years.

Source: Child protection Australia 2018-19, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare.
*Including children in permanent care.

Stories from our foster carers

More information


Read our FAQs

Answers to the most commonly asked questions about foster care.


Find an information session

A chance to chat to our experienced staff who will explain what's involved in becoming a foster carer and answer all your questions. 


Download information pack

Our foster care information pack is a good place to start.


Express your interest

Take the first step today - express your interest and one of our friendly staff will be in touch.