Foster care is a home-based service provided to children and young people up to 18 years of age who are temporarily or permanently unable to live with their families of origin.
In the Victorian system, foster care is seen as one type of 'home-based care'.
In foster care, volunteer caregivers look after children and young people in their own home. A number of community service organisations (CSOs) are funded by the Department of Human Services to recruit, train and support caregivers. Caregiver payments are provided to meet the everyday costs of caring.
In Victoria, there is the system of 'general' foster care, as well as 'Shared Family Care (SFC). The SFC program provides foster care for children and young people with a developmental delay (0-6 years) or an intellectual disability (6-18 years). Trained volunteer caregivers offer their services to families in need of emergency short-term care, planned respite care, or continuous care where the family is unable to continue caring.
Therapeutic foster care is the term used to describe home-based care that emphasises stability and provides additional supports for the child and carers.
Sources used to compile this entry: Department of Human Services, The Home-based Care Handbook, September 2007, http://pandora.nla.gov.au/pan/110885/20091119-1023/ps_home_based_care_revised_2007.pdf.
Prepared by: Cate O'Neill
Created: 16 April 2009, Last modified: 26 April 2016