Caring for children requires empathy and an emotional connection. The foster carers of those children also require empathetic relationships to do their job. Foster carers are tasked with providing enduring and unconditional care, day and night. As a sector we need to respect this commitment in the support offered to them in return.   

Most people are paid to put up with work or work based issues they don’t like. But when you’re a volunteer what keeps you involved is the personal value of the work or relationship. So how people are treated becomes much more important to volunteers. There are practical and meaningful actions that build collaborative practice and instil a sense of respect for the value of volunteer carers. For example:

  • all carers should be given reasonable notice of when a child is to be removed and chance to say goodbye for all the family unless there is on overriding safety issue;


  • carers should be included in meetings and professionals-only meetings should be rare.


  • carer mental health needs to be given as much credence as an EAP in the workplace with a purpose built service such as CAP.


  • All carers should be provided with a copy of the carer authorisation document.


  • carers should always be provided with a case plan, Medicare number and certified copy of a birth certificate upon placement.


  • Clear and dependable arrangements for transport need to be established and reviewed regularly especially as circumstances change not only for the child but also the carer who is a volunteer.


  • Ensure funding is established for each placement on behalf of the child in care, for access to therapeutic, educational and recreational supports. Respecting that a volunteer carer is tasked with the logistics and emotional support to the child attending appointments but that as volunteers, they should not be asked to shoulder the out of pocket costs associated.


These kinds of everyday things can have a big impact on a placement and show respect in action.

The children who come into carers homes have almost all suffered trauma, may have a disability, behavioural issues and complex care needs. Despite these difficulties carers have undertaken to do the invaluable job on behalf of the community and they deserve respect and support from the people working with them.

IN summary, best practise support equals best practise care – the more you can offer foster carers in terms of support, respect and communication, ends up down the chain to the child in their care. Being part of the network of positive engagement for a carer means you’re actively part of ensuring good care for the children and young people in their homes and the retention of our carers in the system.

All 15 carers arrived at the beautiful RACV Healesville Country Club on Friday morning. The day was sunny with Mount Riddell as the backdrop to our conference room, creating a superb vista. We began the day with a Welcome to Country by Murrundindi who explained that Mount Riddell was his country and pointed out the hill top at a particular angle represented Bunjil the creator’s wings. Murrundindi performed a smoking ceremony and we were blessed to have him play didgeridoo for us. 


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Over the two days carers took part in an art therapy session as well as lots of self- care, pampering and hearing from Terrill Bruere whose aim was to help us all feel more confident about establishing a family and home culture that supports healthy relationships with food. One of the best things was the opportunity for carers to meet other like-minded people who understood what each was experiencing and hopefully were able to make ongoing connections with each other.


On Saturday the morning began with a mindful walk around the lake, later a lovely meditation session and  the afternoon finished with a wonderful massage,  as carers walked back from the chair you could see how relaxing and therapeutic it was! We were incredibly lucky to spend time with this wonderful group of carers who actively participated in all that was on offer!


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Feedback from carers: 

"I’ve been a carer for the last 35 years, I came on the retreat for something for me. I’ve been here I’ve met lots of beautiful carers and I’ve learnt lots of things. Thank you for this opportunity"

 "We’ve been caring for 12 years. Thank you for caring for carers. It’s so nice to be in an environment where we are being nurtured. Meeting other carers and knowing you’re not alone in your experiences and getting that support from the foster care community is really empowering"

Through Crown Melbourne’s generosity in waiving the full cost of a lunch for foster carers, on Friday 3 May, 2019 we hosted our event in the Garden Room, Crown Melbourne.


There were 30 places available (including the 2 guest speakers): Carers enjoyed a delicious 2 course meal, drinks and a round table discussion on ‘Parenting our young teens in the care system’, hearing from guest speakers Dr Robyn Miller, CEO of Mackillop Family Services and Luke Westwick, youth worker at CREATE Foundation and former child in foster care.


The event gave carers an opportunity to come together, learn and relax in a beautiful setting and be waited on by the wonderful staff.


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Foster carer’s feedback 8 carers provided feedback, 100% agreed ‘The forum was enjoyable’, ‘The forum gave me the opportunity to network with other carers’, ‘The venue and meal met my expectations’, The forum was informative and I took something away to enhance my knowledge & skills’. 

• ‘I felt Luke and Robyn gave really interesting perspectives from very different lenses. Luke having his foster mums present gave me a great sense of how our children will see us after they leave care (even if they don't express their feelings as outwardly as Luke did).’ - Tim 

• ‘Loved everything about it, meeting other carers and getting tips, listening to the speakers, eating absolutely yummy food and also, having a glass of wine.’ - Chris 

• ‘Thank-you!!! I had a lovely time and felt really valued.’ - Kim


For many carers this was such a unique and special opportunity, they wished to pass on their thanks to Crown Melbourne as well. Foster carer’s feedback to Crown Melbourne

• It means a lot that a big business like Crown sponsors events for carers - it tells me that carers are valued more broadly in society - thanks! - Kim

• Thank you so much it was such a beautiful setting to enjoy a beautiful lunch ,it was so special and actually made me feel wonderfully valued - Chris

• Dear Crown, Thank you for looking after us carers, we do sometimes get forgotten. Loved the food, the staff and the venue. A BIG THANKS. - Cheryl

• Thanks you Crown it was so generous of you to host the foster care lunch, as a carer it is a wonderful opportunity to reflect, take stock and enjoy good company in a beautifully run event, room, staff, food (hospitality etc) - Tim

• Thank you for valuing Foster Carers and the hard work they do. It is extremely tiring. Having a special lunch with some training and encouragement was perfect. - Anne



Through the generosity of our Caring for Carers Program donors, on 1 March 2019, FCAV in partnership with VACCA hosted a Carers Cultural Lunch at Charcoal Lane, Fitzroy.


Charcoal Lane is a social enterprise restaurant that provides guidance and opportunity to young Aboriginal people who are in need of a fresh start in life. The contemporary menu is seasonally driven and draws on the best of native Australian food. 


12 carers enjoyed a 2 course meal and heard from guest speakers Aunty Eva Jo Edwards and Emma Bamblett from VACCA as they spoke about the strength and power of culture and how carers of Aboriginal children and young people can support their connection to country, culture, community and identity. There was great conversation and the carers were really engaged with lots of questions.


Of the 8 carers that provided feedback, all agreed that the forum was enjoyable, they felt respected and looked after, the forum gave them the opportunity to network with other carers. They took something away to enhance their knowledge & skills and the forum provided awareness of and respect for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and culture.


Aunty Eve Jo gave some heart felt words following the lunch, watch the video clip here.


Thank you to Aunty Eva Jo Edwards, Emma Bamblett and Victorian Aboriginal Child Care Agency - VACCA for their support in hosting our cultural carer’s lunch.


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