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Becoming a foster carer is one of the most powerful ways to help children and young people in need

Mercy Community has been helping to connect vulnerable children and young people with supportive families and safe, caring home environments. We’ve worked with thousands of people, just like you, who want to make a difference but don’t know where to start.

Hear from real life foster carers

Being a foster carer can be incredibly rewarding, but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. So why do it? We asked some of the carers from our community to tell us what inspired them to get involved and what motivates them day to day.
Meet our carers
Types of Care

What is Foster and Kinship Care?

Foster and kinship care is providing a safe, secure and supportive home for children and young people who are unable to live with their birth parent/s.

  • Foster carers are people in the community
  • Kinship carers are members of a child’s family or community who assume the responsibility of caring for the child

Within our foster and kinship care program, we support hundreds of carers across south-east Queensland. Our carers provide safe and loving home environments for some of the most vulnerable children in the state, covering everything from emergency care and respite care to long-term care.

“I’m inspired by the warmth, care and generosity that people in foster care demonstrate,” says Hux Horua, a member of Mercy Community’s Foster and Kinship Care Leadership Team.

Your heart, their home

Different kinds of foster care, different ways you can help

Children and young people come into care for all kinds of reasons. To meet all of these needs, Mercy Community provides the following types of foster care:
  • Respite care
    Respite care is for short periods of time, often when children and their full-time carers need a break. Ideally, respite care is planned, for example, for a weekend or month, or as part of the school holidays. However, if there is an emergency in a carer’s household, respite can be needed at short notice.
  • Emergency care
    Emergency care is needed when children or young people need somewhere safe to stay at very short notice. Emergency carers often provide care after-hours or on weekends, and usually for short periods of time, such as a few days or weeks.
  • Short-term care
    Short-term care generally lasts for up to two years and has a strong focus on reuniting the child with their parents or extended family.
  • Long-term care
    Long term care is needed when a child or young person is not expected to return to their family. Longer-term carers make a commitment to caring for a child or young person until they reach adulthood and often beyond.
Becoming a carer

Who can foster?

There’s no such thing as an ‘ideal’ foster carer - the most important thing is that you can give kids a safe space for as long as they need.
  • Over 18 years of age?
    If you're an adult, you can become a foster carer. You might suit some or all types of care, depending on your age.
  • Single, married or living with a partner?
    Marital status, sexuality, gender, race or religion has no bearing on your eligibility to become a carer.
  • Working or staying at home?
    It doesn’t matter if you have a full-time or part-time job, or if you’re unemployed, there’s a type of foster care to suit your commitments.
  • Citizen or permanent resident?
    Citizens and residents are eligible, but even if you’re neither, you can still be considered.
Take the quiz

Facts and myths

Here we dispel some of the most common myths about foster care.
  • 1
    Couples are preferred over single parents
    You don’t need to be in a relationship to be a foster carer. We take an inclusive approach to foster care and look at every person’s unique circumstances. Many of our foster carers are single.
  • 2
    I work full time so I couldn’t foster
    You can be a foster carer and work full time (just ask our CEO!) However, you will need a degree of flexibility with your work in order to meet the needs of the child which could include health appointments, family visits and more.
  • 3
    Every child in foster care has problems
    This isn’t true. Children come into care for a variety of reasons. Some may have endured trauma, or have challenging behaviour that requires specific support strategies. Other behaviours are just typical of childhood.
  • 4
    Foster carers need to be perfect
    Definitely not true! You’re not expected to be perfect (whatever that is!) and what’s more, you’re never in it alone. You’ll always have plenty of support from our Mercy Community team.
  • 5
    You can’t be a foster carer if you’re renting
    This is certainly false. You need to be able to provide a stable home for a child, but that doesn’t mean you need to own your own home.
  • 6
    Same sex couples are not preferred
    Your sexuality does not affect your ability to foster. We welcome applications from people regardless of gender, sexuality, marital status, race or religion.