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Becoming a kinship carer

Kinship carers give a safe home to a child they are related to or know well. Learn how you become a kinship carer and the support and financial help you'll get.

When a child or young person needs a kinship carer

A child or young person might need a kinship carer when:

  • things are not going well at home
  • there’s an emergency or illness in the family
  • there are concerns about their safety and wellbeing.

A child may need a kinship carer for a short or long time.

Who can be a kinship carer

Kinship carers are often a:

  • grandparent
  • aunt or uncle
  • sibling
  • member of the child’s cultural community
  • close family friend.

Choosing kinship carers

Our priority is to find a carer from a child or young person’s family, extended family or community.

Child and Youth Protection Services meet with families to choose relatives or close family friends (kin) who may be able to look after their child.

Sometimes we'll create a family map to understand who is important to the child and their family.

Together we’ll talk about who has:

  • cultural importance to the child
  • decision-making responsibilities for the child
  • a relationship with the child
  • a spiritual role in the child’s life.

For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children

We know connection to culture is important. Keeping Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children safe within community is a priority and we work hard with families to make this happen.

We follow the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Child Placement Principle.

We choose carers for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and young people in this order:

  1. A kinship carer.
  2. A foster carer who is a member of the child’s cultural community and has some responsibility for the child according to community custom and practice.
  3. A foster carer who is a member of the child’s cultural community.
  4. A non-Indigenous foster carer who is:
    • sensitive to the child’s needs
    • can promote the child’s ongoing contact with their family, community and culture
    • living near the child’s family or community.

If we cannot find a family member in an emergency, we'll:

  • place the child with a short-term foster carer
  • continue looking for a kinship carer.

Becoming a kinship carer

We assess you to make sure you can care for a child.

This includes a:

We'll ask questions to understand:

  • your willingness to care for the child
  • your relationship with the child and their parents
  • your capacity to care for the child and respond to their needs – including their cultural and therapeutic needs
  • what support you have to help you and your family
  • your past or current involvement with child protection or the criminal justice system
  • your willingness to work with us, the child’s family and other services for the child.

If the child needs to stay with you for a longer time, we’ll do a comprehensive kinship assessment. This will check your ability to provide long-term care and what help you may need.

If you're interested in being a kinship carer for a child in your family, contact us. Depending on the circumstances, it can take months to get approved.

Caring for a child

You’ll provide daily care to the child or young person.

Daily care includes the activities expected of a typical parent, such as:

  • providing a safe home
  • providing nutritious meals
  • making sure the child’s medical and health needs are looked after
  • signing permission notes for school or childcare
  • helping with schoolwork.

You’ll also be involved in the work Child and Youth Protection Services does with the parents and child to help the child return home. This includes participating in:

  • meetings
  • assessments
  • planning and decisions about the child’s care.

It's helpful to have a good relationship with the child’s parents and wider kin network. This helps:

  • everyone work well together to make positive changes for the child to return home
  • the child stay connected to their culture and community while they are in care.

Support you'll get

You’ll get support to look after the child in your care. This support includes:

  • financial help
  • wellbeing check-ups
  • training
  • other government and community support services.

Learn about support for kinship carers.

Contact us

For more information about becoming a kinship carer, contact the Kinship Assessment and Support team in Child and Youth Protection Services.

Kinship Assessment and Support team
This page is managed by: Community Services Directorate