Carer Support Team

The Carer Support Team (CS Team) operates in addition to the supports and advocacy offered to statutory foster carers through their funded care agencies, therefore providing carers with an independent referral and assistance point. 


The CS Team has four main aims:

● Provision of accurate and clear information via consultation - phone, email and in person, training, newsletters and information sheets

● Referrals to appropriate agencies for specialised and targeted support and assistance

● Phone conversations, one on one meetings and (occasional) attendance at meetings for support

● Advocacy with CSOs and Government on themes and serious issues affecting carers, children and young people in home based care


Our commitment to you


FCAV will not initiate discussions with any agencies or government departments without your expressed consent unless there is an immediate risk of harm to an identifiable person or persons, including a child or young person. All carer information utilised in the compilation of FCAV reports is de-identified to protect the identities of carers.


Contact us


Phone: (03) 9416-4292


Make an online enquiry 


The CS Team Operates between: Monday - Thursday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Friday: 9:00am - 4:30pm

This service is not available on public holidays.  


  • If you are a Kinship Carer, please contact Kinship Care Victoria (KCV), the peak body for Kinship Carers on 03 9372 2442 .


  • If you are a Permanent Carer, please contact Permanent Care and Adoptive Families (PCA), the peak body for Permanent Carers on 03 9020 1833.



Meet the CS Team



Tessa Hughes has managed the Carer Support Team for foster carers in Victoria since 2016. Tessa is passionate about advocating for carers to ensure best outcomes for children in their care. In her role, the support services at FCAV has expanded to include training opportunities such as a weekend carer retreats and cultural days and online offerings such as webinars and podcasts. Tessa is particularly interested in supervision, mentoring and coaching of her team and the broader staff within the organisation. She developed the wellbeing portfolio in the organisation and has managed staff implementation of wellbeing actions.

In recent years she has been involved in the implementation of FCAV’s Reconciliation Action Plan. During the pandemic, there was an opportunity to expand the offering of services to include the Carer Assistance Program to address the emotional trauma and distress experienced by so many carers in the sector. This has been a highly successful addition to our valued carer support service.

Tessa works Monday - Friday







Biba Dickson has been a member of the FCAV Carer Support Team team since 2010, having previously worked in Child Protection. Biba has a strong belief in empowering carers to navigate the foster care system to enable the best possible outcome for the children in their care. She also has a particular interest in the importance of support during the CIMS and Independent Investigation processes.


Biba works on  Monday,Tuesday and Wednesday 







Deb Collard joined the FCAV as Project Co-ordinator with the Carer Support team in May 2017 having worked in home-based care for the previous 20 years. Deb grew up in a fostering family and is passionate about supporting foster carers. She brings a lifetime of foster care experience to her work which is currently focussed on a range of carer forums, including Cultural Days, Carer Retreats, Art Therapy classes and more with a focus on helping carers to meet the complex needs of the children in their care but also ensuring their own self-care is prioritised.



Deb works on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday











Leigh Hillman joined FCAV in late 2020 having previously worked with us for a number of years. Leigh has had an extensive career in government and non-government sectors in Queensland, the Northern Territory and, finally, in Victoria. The granddaughter of a foster carer, Leigh is very committed to ensuring the rights of carers are respected within the out of home care system. She brings several decades of experience and knowledge to her advocacy with, and on behalf of, carers.

Leigh works Tuesday to Friday