Out-of-home care

Children and young people are usually placed with out-of-home care when they cannot live with their families.

Out-of-home Care Services look after children and young people when:

  • A family needs support
  • In cases of family conflict
  • If there is a significant risk of harm or abuse in the family home.

Victorian Carer Register

Out-of-home care service providers must perform a Disqualified Carer Check prior to employing or engaging out-of-home carers, or approving foster carers and ensure they are registered within 14 days. For more information, see Victorian Carer Register.

Adoption Services

Adoption Services are part of Out-of-home Care Services.

This service:

  • Provides counselling and advice for natural parents
  • Assesses prospective adoptive parents
  • Arranges the adoption of infants and children who cannot live at home. These children are placed with adoptive parents to form a new family, which is later legalised by an adoption order.

Adopted children may have ongoing contact with their natural parents.

Out-of-home support services

Out-of-home support services help children and young people, who have been referred to this service, cope with their experiences. They also assist their families to deal with the issues that led to the placement of their child in an out-of-home service.

Kinship care

Kinship care is the care provided by relatives or a member of a child's social network when a child cannot live with their parents.

Aboriginal kinship care is care provided by relatives or friends to an Aboriginal child who cannot live with their parents, where Aboriginal family and community and Aboriginal culture are valued as central to the child’s safety, stability and development. The Aboriginal kinship services are operating in every region of the state.

For more information, see Kinship care.

Looking After Children (LAC) in practice

In Victoria, LAC provides the practice framework for considering how each child's needs will be met, while that child is in out-of-home care. It is used for managing out-of-home care in accordance with the Best Interests Case Practice Model cycle of information gathering, assessment, planning, implementation and review.

The service provider managing the placement, or kinship placement support is responsible for coordinating the LAC processes and completing the LAC records with the other care team members and the child.

For more information, see the Child Protection Manual.

Out-of-home Care Charter

This charter has been especially prepared for children who can't live with their parents and are in out-of-home care. It lists what you can expect from the people who look after you and work with you when you are in care. For more information, see the Charter for Children in Out-of-home Care.

Obtaining Medicare Cards for children in out-of-home care 

The Commonwealth government funds many health services where access and reimbursement of costs requires presentation of a valid Medicare Card (or a valid Medicare number). It is therefore important that when a child is placed in out-of-home care their parent or guardian provide the child's Medicare card or Medicare number.