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Out-of-home care

Kinship care

Hume region Gippsland region Western region

Grandmother with two young children smiling and laughing

Kinship carers take care of a child or siblings when their birth parent or parents are unable to. Kinship carers are usually relatives (often grandparents), but can also be other adults in a child’s life, such as family friends or teachers.

In Victoria there are over 4,200 kinship care households1 who support children and young people with invaluable care.

Wherever possible, it is preferable that children stay within their extended family or social circle rather than entering foster or residential care. This helps them maintain an aspect of identity, belonging, stability and a connection to culture.

For this reason, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in out-of-home care are being transitioned to the care of Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to make sure they receive culturally appropriate care and support.

[1] Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, Child Protection Australia Report (2018-19).

How our Kinship Care Program works

Berry Street's Kinship Care Program offers kinship carers and their extended family information, advice, support and case management services.

This can include:

  • information about benefits and entitlements
  • training opportunities and resources
  • referrals to support services in the community
  • helpful information on topics such as working with schools, managing change and promoting self-care.

Support for kinship carers

Male grandparent sitting reading to boy grandchild

Support groups

We run regular kinship care support groups that bring carers together to share stories and experiences. A Berry Street staff member from the Kinship Program runs the sessions which are held in a child friendly environment.

Being part of a kinship carer group has many benefits. You can:

  • learn about the services available to you and the children in your care
  • get lots of useful information about supports and how you can help children to develop and grow
  • feel more connected and less isolated
  • share stories and get advice from people who’ve had similar experiences to you
  • give the children in your care an opportunity to connect with other children in the same situation, which can help them feel less isolated.

Learning and development opportunities

As a kinship carer you can access online and face to face learning provided through Carer Kafe. To find out more go to Carer Kafe.

Department of Human Services Grandparent Adviser Line

To find out more about other kinship carer groups in the community, call the Australian Government Department of Human Services Grandparent Adviser Line on 1800 245 965.

Kinship Carers Victoria

Kinship Carers Victoria provides support to kinship carers across the state. To find out more go to Kinship Carers Victoria.