Foster and kinship carers’ vital contribution to supporting South Australia’s most vulnerable children and young people is at the heart of a new framework honouring the role of family-based carers.

Launching today, the Statement of Commitment represents a new approach to supporting foster and kinship carers developed in partnership between the Department for Child Protection (DCP), Connecting Foster and Kinship Carers SA Inc. (CF&KC SA) and Child and Family Focus SA (CAFFSA).

The Statement commits the family-based care system to recognise the important contribution that foster and kinship carers make in looking after children and young people in care.

The Statement recognises carers as an essential part of the care team for children and young people, and outlines five key principles that carers can expect, as part of their role: to be informed, supported, consulted, valued and respected.

Minister for Child Protection Rachel Sanderson said she was proud to collaborate with partner organisations, Connecting Foster and Kinship Carers SA and Child and Family Focus SA to better support family-based carers.

“Foster and kinship carers are at the heart of the child protection system, providing safe and nurturing care so that vulnerable children and young people can grow to reach their full potential,” Minister Sanderson said.

“Now, more than ever, we need to honour the role of our carers, and ensure they are well supported and valued.

“The Statement is also a valuable reminder that many organisations have an important role to play in supporting carers, so that they are able to best support the children in their care.”

Connecting Foster and Kinship Carers SA, Chief Executive Officer Fiona Endacott said one of the key principles of the Statement was supporting carers.

“This means that carers will be provided with the necessary guidance, training and financial assistance in order to look after children in their care”.

“The supported principle also empowers carers to make decisions for children in their care in day to day life.”

Child and Family Focus SA, Chief Executive Officer Rob Martin said the new framework commits the sector to working together for the good of all children and young people in care.

“An important part of ensuring the best quality care is looking after our family based carers who selflessly open their homes to our vulnerable children and young people,” Rob said.

“This means that carers will be involved in the decision making process and have the opportunity to provide feedback on policies and procedures that relate to them.”

Foster carer, Donna, said the Statement recognises the important role of foster and kinship carers from all cultural backgrounds.

“Aboriginal children and young people have a fundamental right to grow up connected to family, community and culture,” Donna said.

“As carers we play a critical role in maintaining this connection.

“It's important that organisations work together to provide us with the support we need to ensure Aboriginal children can thrive.”

Foster and kinship carer, Narelle, was pleased that carers would be respected and appreciated for their skills, knowledge and expertise.

“It is important that the family based care system recognises and honours the integral role of carers, to ensure we are able to provide the best care possible to children and young people in their care,” Narelle said.

DCP Chief Executive, Cathy Taylor said the Statement helped to clarify the roles and responsibilities of the department, foster care agencies and partner organisations.

“It is both a symbolic document, but also an incredibly practical statement. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of everyone involved in making family based care the best environment for children and young people,” Cathy said.

“We hope that the Statement will be used by carers and workers to guide their interactions, and help them understand how the system works together to look after our children and young people.

“I encourage carers to familiarise themselves with the Statement, and ask their support worker if they have any questions.”

The Statement of Commitment can be viewed on our website.