Being aware of available supports can be crucial for a successful caring relationship. These supports may include:
- emotional support
- physical and practical support
- financial support
- education and learning
- problem-solving support
- cultural support
- community support
- social support.
Supervision and support
Kinship carers may initially require support from the child or young person’s child protection worker to assist in managing their care needs. You should discuss with the child or young person’s child protection worker what support and resources you require, which may include financial or other types of support.
Where kinship care placements have been made and case management remains with child protection, child protection workers are responsible for supervision and support of the placement. For Aboriginal children who are subject to a protection order, an authorised Aboriginal agency may provide child protection services instead of child protection.
Where case management is contracted to an agency, you should speak to the agency case manager about the support available.
Supervision and support in kinship care placements is provided by child protection, a community service organisation or ACCO (Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisation).
Victorian kinship care services
The Victorian Government funds community-based kinship care services and Aboriginal kinship services across Victoria, to provide a range of cultural and support services for children and young people in kinship care and their families in the area close to where they live.
ACCOs are funded to provide kinship and cultural connections services, and to facilitate and coordinate Aboriginal kinship carer support and healing groups.
A list of kinship care service providers is available on the department’s website at https://services.dffh.vic.gov.au/kinship-care
Kinship Carers Victoria
Kinship Carers Victoria is the peak body for kinship carers in Victoria. You can contact Kinship Carers Victoria for information, advice and support on 0499 969 234, email email@example.com or visit https://kinshipcarersvictoria.org/.
The Mirabel Foundation
The Mirabel Foundation assists children and young people who have been orphaned or abandoned due to parental illicit drug use and are now in the care of extended family. Mirabel provides advocacy, referral, research, practical and emotional assistance to vulnerable children and young people and their kinship carers.
Permanent Care and Adoptive Families
Permanent Care and Adoptive Families provides peer support, advocacy, education and support services to ensure better outcomes for children and young people in kinship care, permanent care and adoption.
Kinship carer support groups
Kinship carer support groups operate in various locations across Victoria. Usually, there is at least one provided by each community service organisation funded by the Victorian Government to provide kinship services. The frequency of these groups may vary, but all groups have the common aim of sharing information and support for kinship carers.
If you are a new carer, attending a support group is highly recommended. They are great for learning about other services and information available to support your role and the child or young person you care for.
Many carers report that these groups make them feel part of a wider network and reduce the sense of isolation that can accompany this challenging role. They also report feeling supported, connected and ‘heard’, as they are able to share experiences with and learn from other carers. The structure of the meetings may vary, but all are informal and welcoming, sometimes with guest speakers.
To find your nearest support group, contact Kinship Carers Victoria on 0499 969 234.
The Orange Door
The Orange Door is the entry point into family services, for families who need assistance with the care and wellbeing of children to access the services they need to be safe and supported.
The Orange Door is open to all kinds of families.
- step families
- kinship families
- rainbow families
- foster families
- nuclear families
- extended families
- people who are not blood relatives but live together.
People who identify as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander can choose to be supported by an Aboriginal worker at The Orange Door or be referred to an Aboriginal service.
Cultural and religious preferences are respected. The Orange Door welcomes everyone, regardless of migration status. You can seek help or support if you are a migrant or a refugee or do not have permanent residency.
See the full list of locations on The Orange Door website, or search by suburb or postcode to find your local service for help and support. People can visit The Orange Door in person or phone or email for access to support.
Looking after yourself
The role of a carer can be very demanding. Being aware of how to manage your stress can improve your wellbeing and may help you in providing care. You are the best person to know what makes you feel emotionally, physically and mentally better, so plan activities to support your health and wellbeing.
There is a range of resources you can access, which may help you identify what would work best for you.
You could also consider getting support and advice from other carers, child protection, your agency (if involved), Aboriginal community networks and broader support networks, such as Kinship Carers Victoria, which provides a range of support services to carers.
Training provides an opportunity for you to gain skills and knowledge to support the child or young person in your care. You are encouraged to take part in the training opportunities available, as you will also be able to meet with other carers, share ideas and discuss challenges you have faced.
Participation in training can support you to care for children and young people with various needs. There is a lot of research and practice advice about understanding trauma, and approaches to supporting children and young people with challenging behaviours. Training in this area may be of particular interest for you.
Carer KaFE: Kinship and foster and permanent care learning and development
The Carer KaFE is a one-stop shop or carer learning and development for Victorian statutory kinship, permanent carers and foster carers.
Visit the online calendar to see the face-to-face learning and development available in your area.
Carer KaFE is FREE for carers to access and attend learning and development opportunities.
The Carer KaFE is managed by the Centre for Excellence (CFECFW), Kinship Carers Victoria (KCV), and The Victorian Aboriginal Children Care Agency (VACCA).
For more information about the Carer KaFE, visit https://carerkafe.org.au
Kinship Carers Victoria – call 0499 969 234 or visit https://kinshipcarersvictoria.org/
VACCA – call (03) 9287 8800 or visit https://www.vacca.org/
Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC) https://www.snaicc.org.au/
Permanent Care and Adoptive Families – call (03) 9020 1833 or visit www.pcafamilies.org.au/
Mirabel Foundation – call (03) 9527 9422 or visit https://www.mirabelfoundation.org.au