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Frequently Asked Questions

Will I Receive Support if Things Get Hard?

Foster Carers and their families will receive support from MercyCare Fostering Services every step of the way. This can be in the form of advocating, counselling, financial, practical or emotional support.

We provide an after hours on-call support service when there are emergency situations, or our Foster Carers need some additional assistance. Our on-call service operates after hours, 7 days per week.

Will the Child or Young Person Go to Our Local School or Stay at Their Own School?

MercyCare Fostering Services is a medium to long-term placement agency. Therefore, on most occasions the child is transitioned to the foster family’s local school. However, if the child is placed for a short period of time the child may stay at their school to avoid disruption. Generally, children attend government schools and only under certain circumstances may they attend private schools.

Will the Child’s Family be Told Where We Live?

The foster family’s address and contact details are not given to the child’s family members. Under some circumstances when it is deemed appropriate and if permission is given by the foster family this information can be released. At times, our Foster Carers work closely with a child’s family. We support this when it is in the child’s best interests to do so and there has been a sense of partnership and understanding formed between all the people involved in the child’s life.

Can a Foster Child Share a Room With My Own Child?

It is important that a foster child has their own room and space in the house. If siblings are placed together, it is possible that they can share a room; however, foster children should not share a room with a foster Carers' own child.

Are We Allowed to Smack Foster Children?

The department for Child Protection and Family Support and MercyCare do not endorse the physical discipline of children in parenting. Any form of corporal punishment is not appropriate, this includes; hitting, punching, smacking, slapping, shaking, kicking etc. Training is provided in alternative behaviour management and discipline.

Can I Talk to People About a Foster Child in My Care?

Foster Carers are provided with important and detailed information about a child or young person when they enter their care and throughout caring for them. We recognise our Foster Carers draw support from many networks; however, we ask our Foster Carers to be sensitive to the privacy and confidentiality needs of children and their families, and to seek to protect this as much as possible.

How Does Family Contact Occur?

Children and young people in foster care have contact with their family. This ranges from face-to-face contact to letters, cards and gift items.

MercyCare works with foster Carers, the Department for Child Protection and Family Support to ensure contact occurs in a safe and meaningful way for children and young people.

Can I Make Life-decisions For a Foster Child in My Care?

Foster children are in the care of the CEO of the Department for Child Protection and Family Support and maintains the status of the legal guardian for a child. The Department makes all formal/legal decisions for the child. Foster Carers and MercyCare support staff, however, are responsible for day-to-day parenting and care decisions and arrangements for and will be consulted and involved in decision-making processes for the child.

What is a Special Guardianship Order?

Special Guardianship Orders (SGO) are intended to provide children in care with stable, long term placements whilst ensuring that the child can maintain links with their birth family and people important to them. SGO’s give carers all the duties, powers, responsibilities and authority, so the child is no longer in the Department for Child Protection and Family Supports’ care. This means Foster Carers will be able to carry out all parental functions without having to consult with the Department for Child Protection or MercyCare. Many discussions and case plans are held between the Department for Child Protection, MercyCare and biological families to ensure the SGO is in the best interests of the child. An application is then made to the Children’s Court for a child to be placed on an SGO. Once this order is in place, MercyCare Fostering Services no longer supports the placement.

Will I Receive Financial Support?

Foster Carers receive a fortnightly subsidy payment for the child/children in their care. The subsidy is expected to cover the basic care and daily needs of the child, such as food, outings, local transport, small toys and basic medical treatment. School fees, uniforms, books, camps and recreational activities etc. are paid by MercyCare Fostering Services and the Department for Child Protection and Family Support. Foster Carers also receive a clothing allowance for the child three times a year and a small allowance for birthdays and Christmas presents.

For any other questions, please contact MercyCare Fostering Services.