At the core of our mission is supporting our children in the foster care system and helping them break the cycle of disadvantage with improved physical, social, emotional and educational wellbeing.
Our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Foster Care Program is committed to placing children and young people in care situations that support their identity and self-esteem.
Becoming a foster carer
Opening your home is a big commitment and can bring many challenges, but the rewards can be life-changing. By becoming a carer, you have the opportunity to make a positive difference in a child’s life, by offering them a safe home where they may thrive.
And it’s not something you will undertake alone — you will receive in-depth training and continued 24/7 foster care support.
We like to think of foster families as part of a larger Narang Bir-rong foster family, where we all work together, promoting a sense of belonging and community.
NBAC promotes the placement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people with people who are within their kinship line, Aboriginal community members and non-Aboriginal people who are culturally sound and can positively promote an Aboriginal child’s identity.
Who can become a foster carer?
We encourage people from all walks of life to apply to become foster carers, including people with disabilities and members of the LGBQTI+ community. You can be single, married and with or without children of your own.
You must have an understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture, child development, trauma, behaviour management, attachment and grief and loss. As long as you are between 21 and 65 years of age and an Australian citizen, you can become an NBAC carer.
What makes a good foster carer?
Good foster carers are those who welcome a child or young person into their homes with compassion; they are able to show love and communicate positive affection.
They are carers who show our children a sense of belonging, nurturing their cultural identity and sense of self. Foster carers must be open and supportive of the child’s right to birth-family contact and have an ability to positively promote the child’s identity and belonging to two family networks.
Good foster carers have patience. Foster children come to every placement with a personal history that you cannot see; this is their trauma and their story.
Although you might not ever hear their story, their body will remember and they will often exhibit behaviours that can push boundaries. These children need time for their traumatised brains to rewire.
Children and young people in care need consistency in all areas of their life, and it is in this consistency that they gradually start to feel safe and secure again living in a different home with another family.
Carers who provide consistent home environments with a routine, boundaries and stability, develop healthy relationships with children in their care and slowly these children are able to feel comfortable to show their love in return.
Types of foster care
NBAC facilitates various types of foster care, depending on the needs of the child or young person. As a carer, you can choose the type of care you wish to offer a child or young person.
Kinship Care: Kinship carers are extended family members who care for a child or young person who can no longer live with their parents.
Respite Care: Respite care is short-term care provided by carers who are not the child’s primary carers, and is usually planned in advance. It is generally an opportunity to give the primary carer a short break and it usually occurs on weekends or during school holidays.
Emergency and Short-Term Care: Emergency and short-term foster carers are called on at short notice and usually provide care from overnight to up to several weeks. Generally, short-term care means ongoing care for a child for up to six months.
Long-Term Care: This is generally ongoing care for a child for more than six months, and could be for several years.
Other Agency Carer Transfers: This is for carers transferring from the Department of Communities and Justice (DCJ) or another service provider to NBAC. Because all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children require culturally appropriate support, the aim is for all of our children in care to be supported by Aboriginal-managed agencies.
Fostering a child can be a long, hard journey, but it’s not something you need to undertake alone. Our caseworkers offer 24/7 foster care support and advocacy, as well as ongoing training opportunities and assessment reports.
All our carers work within a larger, case-managed team — caseworkers, program managers, service providers — who are all working together to create the best outcomes for the child. Carers must have a willingness to work collaboratively within this team.
By providing the highest standard of family-based care, best-practice casework and specialist support services, we not only support the child or young person in care, but the carer and their family.
Our Foster Care Stories
Sharing the stories of our foster carers allows us to tell you about the real impact our community has. The patience, compassion and perseverance of our carers are truly inspiring, and show how we can bring tangible and positive change to the lives of children and young people in our care.