During November and December 2021, we asked South Australian foster and kinship carers (Carers) to provide us with frank and fulsome feedback regarding their caring experience. The survey brought to light various challenges, barriers, successes, and rewards associated with Carers who provide family-based care to children and young people who were, at the time of the survey, under the Guardianship of the Chief Executive and unable to live with their biological family (bio-family).
Summary of the 2021 Survey’s Findings
The survey found a number of issues that need to be addressed:
1. Carers want the relationship between their support agency, the Department for Child Protection (DCP), their child or young person and themselves to be more trusting and transparent.
2. Carers are afraid to ask for support out of fear of having a care concern made against them or having their child or young person removed from their care.
3. Carers want carer payments to be increased and superannuation compensated for.
4. Carers are fed up with the high turnover of case workers and want systems in place that encourage longer-lasting case workers.
5. Carers want better training to manage trauma and challenging behaviours in children and young people placed in their care.
6. Carers need better systems in place for, and accessibility to, respite care, and respite care that is familiar to the family and/or works for the Carer and their children.
7. Carers want repercussions for case workers who make serious mistakes, as well as complaints processes they can trust.
8. Carers want to be heard and seen as experts in their lives so they are included in decisions that affect them and their child or young person.
9. Carers want DCP to respect their family dynamics by allowing more autonomy and to understand the cultural differences that exist within the confines of Carers’ homes.
Thank you to all Carers who took the time to share their views in this survey. CF&KC-SA will utilise your feedback as the basis for our strategic planning over the next 12 months, and guide the training and support we provide. This feedback is crucial for us as the independent peak body, to understand the needs of the SA Carer community and advocate for lasting systemic change.