Become a foster or kinship carer

If you are interested in becoming a foster or kinship carer in the Northern Territory (NT), this page has information about what is involved. 

Why children need care

Sometimes a child's parent or caregiver is not able to provide the care and protection the child needs to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

When there are concerns for a child's safety, Territory Families can place the child in a safe environment for a period of time while the situation is assessed.

They can also apply to the court for a protection order to place the child with a foster or kinship carer for a longer period of time.

What foster and kinship carers do

Foster and kinship carers play an important role in the lives of children and young people while they are in care.

As a carer you will help make sure a child's developmental, health and emotional needs are met at a time when they are most vulnerable. You can help them to become a strong and resilient young person.

As a kinship carer, you will provide an environment where Aboriginal family, community and culture are valued and central to the child's safety, stability and development.

Types of care

Carers are needed to provide the following types of care.

Emergency care

Children may need emergency care when there are concerns for their immediate safety. Emergency placements can happen at any time - during the working day, in the evening or on weekends.

Emergency carers need to be ready to look after a child of any age at short notice and at different times of the day and night.

Respite care

Respite carers can provide short-term respite care for children who are normally placed with other carers. This can be for short periods of time like school holidays, weekends or a few hours during the week.

Respite care is usually planned and can be scheduled in advance.

Ongoing foster or kinship care

Under a court order children may be placed with a foster or kinship carer for a few months or longer.

The immediate focus of a placement is to help children return home to their parents or extended families, or to ongoing care within the community they have been brought up in.

A longer-term placement may be needed to provide for the ongoing safety and stability of a child when they are unable to return home.

Permanent care

If a child is unable to return safely home they may be considered for a permanent care order, if it is in their best interests.

A permanent care order aims to provide long-term safety and stability for the child and also gives the permanent caregiver all the rights and responsibilities that a parent would normally have.

Who can be a foster or kinship carer

Anyone can apply to become either a foster or kinship carer in the NT.

Carers can be:

  • single or married, or in a de facto relationship including a same-sex relationship
  • people who have their own children or people who don't have children
  • anyone over 18 years of age
  • renting or owning their own home
  • working part-time, full-time or not at all.

You might be suited to be a carer if you:

  • are patient - foster children are often going through difficult times and need lots of understanding
  • are willing to work with others and follow a plan set by the child's caseworker
  • relate well to children and young people
  • have room for an extra person in your home
  • are willing to offer support to a young person and protect them from harm
  • can provide a healthy and caring environment.

You could be suited to being a kinship carer if you are also related to a child in care through blood, marriage, kin or cultural relationships.

How to apply

To apply to be a foster or kinship carer follow these steps:

Step 1. Fill in a carer expression of interest form. 

Carer expression of interest form (48.8 kb)
Carer expression of interest form (33.8 kb)

Step 2. Send your form to the address below. 

Carer Assessment and Support
PO Box 37037
Winnellie NT 0821 

Contacts

To find out more, contact:

Territory Families

Phone: 1800 814 599

Carer Community

www.carercommunity.nt.gov.au

Foster Carers Association NT

www.fostercarersnt.org.au

Last updated: 29 September 2017