Prior to children entering foster care, the Department for Child Proection and other family support agencies work with families to help them, where possible, to remain together. This help may include counselling, in-house help and parenting assistance, budgeting assistance and emergency accommodation. Sometimes these services are enough to keep a family together during a crisis and prevent children from entering care.

Some families may need outside help at some stage. Families who live in isolation often depend on the community for support. Examples of support are:

  • Family, neighbours and friends.
  • Paid help, such as day care, baby-sitting.
  • Assistance from the Department for Child Protection.
  • Assistance from family support agencies.

Some people find themselves without family, neighbours, friends or finances to pay for help during a particular crisis at a particular time. The Department for Child Protection and other family support agencies are there to help families in these situations.

If parents are not able to adequately care for their children at home for a period of time and support from relatives or friends is not available, one option for the children is to be placed in a foster home. Either the Department for Child Protection or other family support agencies arrange this. In exceptional circumstances where children are at risk of harm they are removed for their own safety.