About the IFYS Foster Care Program
IFYS has been providing foster care services to children and young people, in the care of the Department of Child Safety, since 1992.
Like changes in government services and programs, foster care has not always been known as such and our program began its life as an independent, adolescent, placement service described as ‘shared family care’. Today, we support the needs of children and young people, from birth to 18, who are unable to live at home for a range of reasons. IFYS is commited to ensuring that children and young people in our care are reunited with their families. The philosophy of ‘sharing the care’ with families remains a central commitment of IFYS foster care. Some children and young people will, however, remain in foster care until they reach the legal, independent age of 18.
Our service is contracted to support children and young people who live locally on the Sunshine Coast and Cairns. As all children and young people are different and have unique needs, so is the kind of care and support that is needed. Our carers come from a range of backgrounds and life experiences and provide emergency, respite, short, medium and long term care, dependent upon their individual commitments and choices.
What is community based foster care?
When families are unable to provide children and young people with the kind of care they need, another caring arrangement may be needed.
Foster care is one form of alternative care that may be used to support children, young people and their families during periods of family crisis. There are many reasons for families experiencing crises and most families are able to work through these.
When foster care is needed, children and young people are cared for, in the homes of approved foster carers, until they can safely return home. They are able to continue with schooling and any activities they may be involved in. For some, foster care will provide new opportunities to be involved in sport, recreation and social activities. Children and young people should be encouraged to participate in whatever normal family activities the carers do, so they feel included and part of the family and community.
Some children and young people in foster care will be from culturally diverse communities or have particular religious affiliations. It is essential that we support and value these connections with their community, culture and faith.
One of the main aims of foster care is to reunite children and young people with their families. Therefore, foster carers may be required to work with the family to ensure this goes smoothly. For example, staying in contact through phone calls and family visits is important to children and young people and supports their sense that the adults who care for them are working together.