Carer Support Team

The Carer Support Team provides the following offerings, opportunities and services to carers at FCAV.


Carer Advocates - the FCAV Carer support line: (03) 9416 4292

  • Provide information and advice to foster carers about navigating the home based care system
  • Provide support and advocacy for foster carers when involved in a Client Incident Management System issues (CIMS)
  • Liaison with foster carer’s agency, when necessary, to advocate for foster carers.
  • Liaison with DFFH and other key stakeholders for individual advocacy


Carer Assistance Program (CAP)

This program services Foster carers, Permanent carers and Adoptive families to provide therapeutic short-term intervention delivered one-to-one, as couples or, in group therapeutic settings, on issues such as -

  • anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation
  • grief and loss
  • emotional support during a CIMS investigative process
  • parental stress
  • system stress where placements are in jeopardy of breaking down
  • thoughts of exiting the system
  • relationship issues requiring joint/couple sessions


Learning and Development Programs

Provides learning and development opportunities for Foster, Kinship and Permanent carers such as -

  • Question and Answer Online Sessions
  • Webinars on Out of Home care specific knowledge i.e. access, respite
  • Wellbeing Retreats
  • Cultural Experiences to facilitate and inform the transition process for Kinship and Foster cares
  • Chat with CEO Sessions for foster carers to raise practice issues and advocacy advice
  • Chat with CEO sessions with agencies for advocacy advice


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 - Carer Advocates operate 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 Carer Support Team


 TessaHughes.jpg   Carer Support Team Manager 

Tessa Hughes joined FCAV in 2016. Since then, the Carer Support service has expanded from providing information, support, and advocacy to a range of offerings for foster carers.

During COVID, with the increased stresses placed on foster carers, there was an opportunity to expand services to include therapeutic counselling for foster carers. This program has continued to expand in recent years to include running therapeutic groups which have been successful and assisted many carers. In 2022, Permanent Care and Adoptive Families requested a similar offering for Permanent Carers which we facilitated and this year we are offering the group experience for this cohort too. This work has been a great partnership with PCA Families. Tessa manages the Learning and Development opportunities offered by FCAV and is passionate about Carer Wellbeing. Her greatest achievements have been managing weekend retreats for carers where they can restore and revitalise themselves. Tessa loves to travel and experience new wonders.

Tessa works Monday - Friday


Carer Advocate

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 Monday and Tuesday 


Carer Advocate
Leigh Hillman
 returned to the FCAV in late 2020 having previously worked with us for a number of years. With an extensive career in government and non-government sectors in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Victoria, Leigh brings several decades of experience and knowledge to her advocacy on behalf of foster carers. 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.

Leigh works Wednesday to Friday


Learning and Development Coordinator

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 the Learning and Development arm of the Carer Support team, offering a range of carer forums, including Cultural Days, Carer Retreats, Art Therapy classes, webinars 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 Tuesday, Thursday and Friday