A home for life

When children can't live with their own family, the thing that makes the biggest difference are foster parents who provide a safe and stable home, stick by them through thick and thin, and let them know they belong.

Giving a foster child a home for life means that they are no longer in the care of Child, Youth and Family care, they are in your care for life.

In most cases you will become their legal guardian, often in addition to their birth parents.

How do I become a home for life parent?

To give a child a home for life, you'll begin as a foster parent. You'll either:

  • attend our free training and apply to be a foster carer. Trained social workers will work with you and assess whether foster care is right for you;
  • or you may already be a foster carer and thinking about making a lifelong commitment to the child in your care.

Offering a home for life is a legal process and we will help you through the steps, work with you on the child's plan and support you as you apply to the Family Court.

All going well, the judge will make the necessary orders which will provide the legal foundation for your child's permanent home.

Supporting home for life parents

We want to make sure you are supported, given the right information and feel confident as you make this life-changing commitment.

We'll connect you with a home for life support person who will answer your questions, help you with paperwork, offer advice and support.

We'll pay the agreed legal costs and you'll be able to choose a lawyer to take you through the legal process.

Together with you and other people involved with the child, we'll create a plan to meet the child's individual needs, provide ongoing financial support through Work and Income and sort out ongoing contact with their birth family.

The three year support package

Once your child is with you for life, you'll receive a three year support package. This will help your child have the opportunities they need, and support you as you start out.

We will

  • make an upfront payment worth $2500 to contribute to the child's individual needs and support them in things like their education or other interests
  • offer a baby care starter pack for families giving a home to our under twos
  • give access to support like respite care, counselling, or help with mediation if needed
  • keep you connected to a home for life support worker, who will check in every three months, and visit you every six months if you would like
  • ensure you continue to receive your full financial entitlements through Work and Income
  • make sure contact with the child's family is working well.

After three years we'll review the plan and make sure you're getting the ongoing help you need to care for your child.

Find out more about giving a child or young person in care our home for life brochure: