Aboriginal Family Support Services

Together with the community
LOCAL BRANCH

Smithfield

Business Summary
Aboriginal Family Support Services acknowledges the diversity of Aboriginal communities and ensures that all services are innovative, creative & healing-based.
About Us

Aboriginal Family Support Services Inc. (AFSS) has been serving South Australian Aboriginal communities for more than 36 years. AFSS was established in 1978 as the SA Aboriginal Child Care Agency Forum Inc. (ACCA), becoming Aboriginal Family Support Services (AFSS) in 1988 to reflect the broader range of family based programs offered by AFSS. 

Our key role has always been to ensure that Aboriginal communities and organisations are involved in matters relating to child protection. Before 1978, Aboriginal children were often removed from their families and communities without the consent of, or consultation with, birth or extended family members. 

As an Aboriginal community based and community controlled organisation, ACCA’s key role was to redress these injustices and to provide support, assistance and advocacy to Aboriginal children, youth and their families. 

In 1993, with the passing of the Children's Protection Act in the South Australian Parliament, legislation required that whenever Families SA should become involved with Aboriginal child placement issues, they consult a recognised Aboriginal organisation (commonly known as a Gazetted organisation) before any decisions or Orders are made in relation to Aboriginal children. 

AFSS is a Gazetted organisation and undertakes the vital role in ensuring that the importance of culture, country and connection for all Aboriginal people is adhered to in relation to child welfare and protection, as mandated in the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle.

FAQs
Can I work if I am a foster carer?
Yes. You can be a foster carer whether you’re working part-time, full-time or studying. Carers with particularly busy lifestyles may be more suited to providing respite care, that is, caring for children on weekends or during the school holidays.
Do I need to have experience with children of my own?
No. Experience in raising children of your own is often an advantage, but not essential.
Do I need a separate bedroom for a foster child?
You will need to have room in both your house and your care for a foster child. At assessment, the child's age, gender and other needs will be taken into account regarding whether they can share a room.
If I’m single can I apply?
Yes. You can be single, married, or in a de facto relationship, including same-sex couples.
Are foster children ever returned to their birth parents?
An important aim of foster care is to reunite children with their birth families where possible. This means that children may stay in care for short or longer periods. Sometimes reunification with the birth family is not possible and a child will stay in care until they are 18. In many cases, the foster child will have some organised contact with birth families, facilitated by Families SA in partnership with the foster carer.
What support will I have?
AFSS is contracted by the Department for Child Protection to recruit, assess and train foster carers, to provide ongoing support and to support the successful placement of foster children. The partnership between the carer, the Department for Child Protection and AFSS is a vital one for both the carer and the children. Ongoing training and regular consultation is part of being a foster carer and help is available 24 hours a day
How does the selection of foster carers work?
Once you’ve told us that you want to become a foster carer there's a thorough assessment and training process designed to ensure that carers are well equipped to take on the challenging and rewarding work ahead. A decision not to continue can be made either by the potential carer or AFSS at any time during the process. The final decision to register any new carer lies with the Department for Child Protection.
Do I need to be Aboriginal to apply to become a foster carer?
No, you’re not required to be Aboriginal to be considered as a foster carer. AFSS is committed to following the Aboriginal Child Placement Principle and so aims to place Aboriginal children in long term care with families who can best support that child’s cultural background. Non-Aboriginal carers may be registered to provide emergency, respite and short term care.
Will I receive financial assistance to help manage the costs of caring for a child?
Foster caring is a voluntary role but carers receive government payments called a Carer Subsidy Allowance. This is not considered a source of personal income or wage and is intended to cover the basic costs of caring for the child and to assist with general household expenses such as food, electricity, gas, telephone, internet and entertainment. The amount varies according to the child’s age and whether the child is identified as having special needs.