What is SSI Multicultural Foster Care

SSI delivers a specialist out-of-home care service that provides a culturally appropriate model of foster care for children and young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds aged 0-18 years in NSW, and up to 21 years in Victoria.

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What are the main services that SSI provides under the Child and Family division?

SSI’s Multicultural Child and Family Program (MCFP) supports foster children, young people and parents from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds (CALD), as well as providing programs for families with an early intervention focus.

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What qualities make a good foster carer?

The main qualities that make an effective foster carer are a genuine interest in children and young people and a focus on the child’s best interests. Other strong attributes include:

  • empathy and good listening skills
  • perseverance when things get tough
  • flexibility and adaptability
  • patience and humour
  • stability and consistency in your personal and family life
  • an ability to guide and discipline children without the use of physical punishment
  • being able to look after yourself emotionally and staying well
  • a willingness to work with other people in the child’s life such as birth parents and caseworkers
  • a willingness to support the child to develop a sense of identity that includes their culture, language and religion, where appropriate.

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What is the main focus of SSI Foster Care?

SSI recruits foster carers and provides casework support for children from CALD backgrounds aged 0-18 years in NSW and 0-21 years in VIC.

While SSI has a strong focus on recruiting foster carers from CALD backgrounds, we consider interest from people of any background if they have a genuine desire to provide a safe and caring home for children.
SSI Multicultural Foster Care is staffed by bilingual case workers and managers with cross cultural and out-of-home care casework skills and knowledge.

They work closely with community organisations and community leaders, women’s groups, religious organisations and other relevant services, in the recruitment and support of foster carers.

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What area does SSI Foster Care cover?

In NSW we cover parts of metropolitan Sydney and the Hunter/Central Coast area and in Victoria we cover the northern suburbs of Melbourne.

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What is a foster carer?

Foster carers care for children and young people who can’t live safely with their family. They provide safe and caring homes for these vulnerable children. By providing guidance, support and encouragement, foster carers make a real difference to the lives of children in care. Foster carers are trained, assessed and authorised to provide foster care.

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Why is it important to help children maintain a connection to their culture?

At SSI, we believe children in care who are supported to learn about and maintain a connection to their culture, religion and language have better outcomes as they grow up than those who are not supported in this way. These connections help children to understand where they have come from and to develop their sense of belonging and identity.

Helping children stay connected with their culture, language and religion can also help if and when children are returned to their birth parents.

Burke, S. and Paxman, M. 2008. Children and young people from non-English speaking backgrounds in out-of-home care in NSW, Centre for Parenting & Research Service System Development Division, NSW Department of Community Services.

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Who is eligible to become a foster carer with SSI?

Anyone can apply to become a foster carer as long as they meet the conditions set out below. Applicants must be:

  • over 21 years of age
  • an Australian citizen or permanent resident
  • in good physical and emotional health without any medical condition that may affect their ability to care for a child or young person
  • SSI recognises that foster carers can have different personal and family circumstances. Foster carers can be:

    • single, married or in a de facto relationship
    • renting, buying or you may own your home
    • working or not working
    • a parent or someone who has a strong interest in helping children

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How do I apply to become a foster carer and what does it involve?

If you are interested in becoming a foster carer with SSI please contact us on:
P: 1800 960 976 or 02 8713 9200
E: fostercare@ssi.org.au

For Victoria –
P: 1800 955 774
E: vicfostercare@ssi.org.au

We will arrange a time to come and speak with you and your family about foster care, what it involves, and how to apply.

You will be provided with written information about our service and an application form. Once you have gathered the information you need and you decide you want to proceed, the next step will be to submit the application form to us.

You will then be invited to participate in an assessment process that will help us determine whether you can become a foster carer with our service.

The process includes:

  • a safety inspection of your home
  • a request for medical and personal references
  • checks for Working with Children and criminal records for all adult members of your household
  • participation in 2-3 days’ training which can be spread over several weekends and/or weeknights
  • assessment interviews with you and members of your household to determine your suitability to be authorised by our service as a foster care

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