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Types of foster care

You could help a child in crisis

You could provide care in the short-term or take a child into your family for the long-term – it's your choice.

Find out-of-home care locations

Respite care

Some people begin their foster care journey by caring for a child for short, occasional or regular periods, while a child is in a permanent placement. Also known as respite, a carer fosters for a brief time, with the aim of expanding a child or young person’s support network. It can be a one-off arrangement or maybe for one weekend, every month.

Immediate and short-term care


Some foster carers choose to foster children and young people on an emergency basis. Often children are leaving a critical situation and need a safe place to stay until they can return home, or until a more suitable place is found for them. This can be from one night to a few months.

Short-term care

For children and young people who can’t remain safely at home, they need a place to stay while we work to either restore them to their families, or until a court order is granted to have them cared for by permanent carers.


Some children are adopted by a relative, someone related to the child by family ties or through a prior relationship connection. Placement with relatives or kin is often the first option considered when child cannot safely remain in their parents' home or cannot be reunited with them.

Permanent care

Long term care

Where other options for permanent care aren’t suitable, foster carers look after children on a long-term basis. The carers do not take parental responsibility and the care of the child or young person is supervised by a foster care agency.


Also known as guardianship, permanent care gives a child or young person a more stable, nurturing and safe home until they turn 18, without cutting legal ties to their family. Guardianship means that the child or young person is not in foster care but in independent care, under a Guardianship Order made by the NSW Children’s Court. New laws make open adoption also an option.


Uniting foster carers have the possibility of adopting a child or young person under the Parental Responsibility of the Minister. Open adoption of a child in out-of-home-care can be considered where restoration back to family is not viable. Approved adoption orders mean the child can legally use the adoptive family’s last name, their adoptive parents will be able to make all the parental decisions about the child’s upbringing and they will no longer be considered in out of home care.

Get in touch

To contact one our foster care coordinators call us on 1800 864 846 (1800 UNITING) or email us.

Our customer service team is available from Monday – Friday, 8.00am – 6.00pm AEST.

To find a program near you and your family, use our service finder.

Call us on 1800 864 846 (1800 UNITING)1800 864 846.

Email us at ask@uniting.org

If you have an enquiry about employment with Uniting, please go to the Uniting jobs website.

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