Providing therapeutic foster care services for children and young people who are unable to live with their birth families
Stretch-A-Family places a lot of emphasis on ensuring the foster family are a ’good match’ for the young person to ensure the placement will be successful. We provide 24 hour support for carers as well as ongoing training and a commitment to developing our carers and carer practices. Stretch-A-Family also provide access to a range of services designed to support the placement, based upon the needs of the child or young person. Services include respite care, counselling, health care, clinical support and educational support – a caseworker will also provide individual support to the child and carer alike.
There is a great need for more foster carers. Children enter foster care through no fault of their own. Children and young people are removed into foster care because their birth family is unable to look after them. In NSW there are over 20,000 children and young people in need of care, but fewer than 13,500 households authorised to provide it. Every year another 2500 children enter the foster care system. Each night approximately 100 children sleep in motel rooms because there is no family placement available to them.
Foster care (or Out-of-Home-Care) is where children under the age of 18 are unable to live with their birth parents for any reason and are taken into the care of the state. In NSW the child protection body (Family and Community Services or FACS) outsources the provision of foster care to agencies like Stretch-A-Family that are accredited by the Office of the Children’s Guardian. The reasons children and young people enter care may include family breakdown, abuse and neglect, or a parent’s physical and mental illness or drug and alcohol problems.
Many children & young people in need of foster care have experienced emotional upheaval, loss and rejection. The move from a familiar environment into an unknown one is rarely easy, even when children are safer in foster care. The young person may have lost trust in adults or family life generally, have low self-esteem and display behaviours which are a result of coming to terms with previous abuse and traumatic experiences.
Children and teens in foster care need loving, stable placements for however long they are in the system. The aim for these children is always permanency. In the first instance when children enter care the aim (where safe) is to support the parents so children can return home (restoration). After that, extended family members are sought to care for the child. Foster care can sometimes lead to permanent placement through guardianship or open adoption. SAF were proud to launch our Permanency Support Program in October 2018.
There are fewer eligibility obstacles to becoming a carer than many people realise. To become a carer with Stretch-A-Family you must be over 21, have Australian citizenship or PR, and have a spare bedroom for any child placed into your care. Foster carers come from all walks of life and can be single or a couple, already have children in the home or have never been a parent, renters or home owners, working, studying, a stay at home parent or retired, and from any ethnicity, faith, gender or sexuality.
Foster carers can provide different types of care, such as emergency short-term care for children when they first enter care until a long-term placement can be found. Foster carers can also provide respite care over one weekend a month & school holidays to give long term carers a break. Stretch-A-Family can work with carers where appropriate to help them achieve a permanent placement through guardianship or open adoption of the child in their care.
Children in foster care in NSW
Children entering care each year
SAF Foster care placements
SAF Carer Households
ready to get started?
Contact SAF today
If you feel ready to take the next step, fill out an enquiry form & we will contact you very soon, or call us during office hours on 9569 6933 and ask to speak to a member of the foster care recruitment team