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Tasmania - Glossary Term

Foster Care (c. 1955 - )

c. 1955
Type of 'care'

Foster care is a home-based service provided to children and young people up to 18 years of age, formerly 21, who are temporarily or permanently unable to live with their families of origin. The term 'foster care' replaced 'boarding out'.


In Tasmania in 1983, the Department of Community Welfare favoured foster care for state wards because it resembled 'a normal family environment'. The foster child knew his or her identity and often maintained contact with his or her parents. Foster care could also be the best short term placement for children.

Between 1976 and 1986, the proportion of children in foster Homes and approved children's Homes had shifted considerably towards foster Homes. In 1976, 36 percent of children were in foster Homes compared to 19 percent in approved children's Homes. By 1986, those in foster Homes made up 53 percent of the total and those in approved Homes 10 percent.

By 1983, a Foster Parents' Association had formed which, according to the 1983 Annual Report of the Department of Community Welfare, shared 'knowledge, skill and experience in the interests of the children'.


 1844 - c. 1970 Boarding Out
       c. 1955 - Foster Care

Related Concepts

Related Glossary Terms

Related Organisations


Journal Articles

  • Evans, Caroline, 'Excellent Women and Troublesome Children: State Foster Care in Tasmania, 1896-1918', Labour History, no. 83, 2002, pp. 131-148. Details


Online Resources

Sources used to compile this entry: Ombudsman Tasmania, Listen to the children: Review of claims of abuse from adults in state care as children, Office of the Ombudsman, Tasmania, Hobart, November 2004. Also available at p.57..

Prepared by: Caroline Evans