Kinship care

Kinship care is the preferred placement type for children who cannot live with their parents.

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.

Statutory kinship placements occur when a Child protection intervention has occurred and a decision has been made to place a child with relatives or a significant friend, and may also involve an order made by the Children's Court.

Private, informal or non-statutory kinship care are terms which may be used to describe arrangements where children are cared for by relatives without any Child protection intervention.

The Victorian Government funds 32 metropolitan and regionally based kinship care services to improve the supports available for children growing up in kinship care. These community based kinship care services provide a range of cultural and support services for children in kinship care and their families close to where they live.

Kinship Care Model

The Victorian government's new kinship care model started in March 2018. 

The new model identifies kinship networks earlier; promotes placement quality and supports children and young people living in kinship care; promotes placement stability; strengthens reunification where appropriate; builds community connections for Aboriginal children in kinship care; and delivers better, more flexible support.

You can find out more about the new kinship model in two videos featuring staff from Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative, and some of our new, dedicated kinship workers.

The videos highlight how this new approach to kinship care is helping children, young people, carers and families across Victoria.

Rumbalara Aboriginal Cooperative video

Kinship workers video

Read the Kinship Care workers video transcript (word).

Kinship engagement workers

As part of the new model of kinship care, 44 (full time equivalent) kinship staff are now working with children, young people, carers and families across Victoria.

These kinship care workers are based in each of the department's 17 areas across the state. 

The kinship care teams are available to provide advice and support to kinship carers where there is current Child Protection involvement.

See Contacts to get in contact with the kinship teams.

Working with children check

Kinship carers approved by child protection are required to apply for a Working with Children Check within 21 days of a child being placed in their care.

The Working with children check assists in protecting children from sexual or physical harm by ensuring that people who work with, or care for, them are subject to a screening process.

It is free for kinship carers to apply for a Working with children check and it must be renewed every five years.

To apply for a check, visit the Working with children check website.

Kinship Carers Victoria - peak body

Kinship Carers Victoria (KCV) is the peak body for all kinship carers. KCV's role is to:

  • Link individual kinship carers with other carers; support groups; self help and carer groups; and other relevant networks. Develop partnerships with organisations and stakeholders to best support kinship carers
  • Promote greater community awareness of kinship families, carers and children in kinship care in Victoria
  • Provide advice for government, organisations and the community on behalf of Victorian kinship carers about improving supports available for children in kinship care.

Financial support for kinship carers

Statutory kinship carers who have been assessed and approved by Child Protection are eligible for a care allowance through the department. Statutory kinship carers may also be eligible for other financial supports. 

Financial support for home-based carers depends on the needs and age of the child or young person in their care. Read more on Support for home-based carers on this website.

Care Support Help Desk

The Care Support Help Desk are here to give tailored support to statutory Foster and Kinship carers caring for children and young people who are in care. The team will make sure they have critical documents they need when starting a care placement.

Staff will help existing statutory carers track vital documents for children in care, including Medicare details and birth certificates. 

The Care Support Help Desk operates during business hours, 9.00 am to 5.00 pm.

Dedicated teams are located across the state. Find your closest team in the ‘Contacts’ section on the right-hand side of this page.

If you have an issue with your placement, call your agency first or child protection where applicable. 

Further information on the Care Support Help Desk can be found under the heading 'Related resources'

Kinship Carers Victoria
(03) 9372 2422
Care Support Help Desk

South Division
Phone: 1800 319 503
Email South Division

North Division
Phone: 1800 319 507
Email North Division

West Division
Phone: 1800 319 510 
Email West Division

East Division 
Phone: 1800 931 757
Email East Division