Chat with the CEO

Over the past few months I have appreciated the opportunity to speak directly with carers and agency staff who I invited to join me for virtual morning tea sessions, to provide connection and to discuss issues that require our advocacy.

On top of the great opportunity to engage with stakeholders and learn more about our members and the people working with them, the sessions allowed time to glean clear themes from both carers and agency staff:


  • The need to ensure foster carers are valued and recognised for the significant role they play within a system that includes government and agencies and should be working together to support its volunteers.

  • Inadequate communication was a priority for carers, especially with court involvement. The issue being further compounded by a lack of access to support such as counselling and respite. During COVID there was an expectation that carers do most transports and facilitate access visits.

  • There was unanimous agreement that regardless of the intense workloads there needs to be more collaboration between agencies and Child Protection.

  • To improve the foster care system there is a need to have all carers trained in therapeutic models to be able to manage the impact of cumulative harm.

  • Client Incident Management was a point of major concern requiring advocacy raised by issues such as time delays and carers leaving the system during or after regardless of outcome. Agencies feel they have a conflict of interest in completing investigations when they are meant to be supporting carers. Carers stated they feel devalued and often left in limbo, sometimes for months.

  • The court system is another major issue of concern. It takes too long to make decisions where children remain in care and bonds are developed and attachments made to the carer only to be moved to the next stage (often without any real transition) which has an impact on both the carer and the child.

I am so grateful to those carers and staff who attended and their candid and detailed discussions which gives me ample first-hand experiences to add to FCAV advocacy on some known issues as well as some new issues to pursue in the broader advocacy of FCAV.


Sam Hauge, CEO Foster Care Association of Victoria