Become a Carer or Mentor

As long as you are an adult, you can apply to become a Time for Kids carer. It doesn’t matter if you are married or single, living with a partner or alone, older or younger, with your own children or not. At Time for Kids, we describe everyone who volunteers to spend regular time with a Time for Kids child as a ‘carer’, however they might also be described as ‘mentors’, particularly in the case of those carers who choose to spend time with their Time for Kids child only during the day, or who register for our short-term mentoring program.

Regularly sharing your time with a child from a struggling family can make a world of difference to a child’s life. Each child referred to us is carefully matched to a supportive individual or family for regular visits. The frequency and duration of visits are entirely flexible, and can range from an afternoon a fortnight, or weekend a month, to blocks of time during the school holidays. All volunteers are provided with training and ongoing support and become part of a supportive network of volunteers across South Australia.

The aim is to develop a strong, long-lasting bond so that a close and positive relationship can develop. Regular respite care with volunteer families and individuals provides children and young people with many positive outcomes, including:

  • the creation of a strong support network
  • access to new opportunities and experiences
  • positive role models
  • stability and support
  • acceptance, respect, care and nurturing
  • respite and from the home environment.

For a comprehensive overview of the application process, please click here.

Day and weekend visits

Carers are matched with a child or young person for regular visits or activities. Depending upon your arrangements you might choose to spend time together weekly, fortnightly, or monthly. Visits can take place either inside or outside of your home. Some placements are overnight and some are just for a day, morning or afternoon. Children continue to spend time with the same individual or family so that a close and positive relationship can grow, and sometimes as this relationship grows, so does the amount of time you choose to spend together.

Short term mentoring

Where our regular program emphasizes a long-term commitment, our short term mentoring program requires our mentors to commit to only two years involvement in the program. This makes it ideal for applicants who are uncertain of what their personal, work or study commitments might be in the future, but who still want to make a positive difference in a young person’s life. Mentors in this stream will typically be matched with a young person aged 14 years or over who will benefit from having a special person to have fun with, talk to about their lives and seek advice from for their futures.

School holiday visits

Some children are matched with a caring family for a week for visits of three to four days during school holidays. Many city children go to the country for a holiday, who have never left the city before. Similarly, many country children go to the city for their holiday to have access to the delights of Adelaide. Our regional holiday placements take place in towns and farms across South Australia from Pt Lincoln to Mt Gambier, Kingscote to Burra and beyond.

Is caring for you?

  • Do you enjoy the company of children and young people?
  • Can you be positive even when behaviour is difficult?
  • Do you accept that some families have views different from yours?
  • Have you discussed becoming a carer with your family and friends and the impact it might have on them?
  • Are you willing to share your experiences and home with others?
  • Do you have the patience to wait for a child to respond and develop trust in you?
  • Do you have a good sense of humour to help you with the tough times?

Support for volunteer carers

We know that support for volunteers who provide care is essential. We know that unless the placement works for everyone involved then it won’t work for long. We work as a team with our volunteers to ensure that every placement has every chance of success and will be sustained for as long as possible.

You can expect:

  • a highly qualified support team
  • support available to you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
  • regular contact with your support team
  • support groups and social functions with other carers
  • training opportunities
  • assistance to resolve any concerns quickly
  • assistance with resources, counselling and advice to support you and the child in your care
  • assistance to children and their families with resources, referrals and advice.

Training

Information and knowledge are vital to providing high quality matches for children and young people. Training is an important component of our support for carers, and protects both you and the children in your care.

All Time for Kids carers complete Child Safe Environments and Senior First Aid training, as well as a comprehensive induction process.  We offer information and resources on a wide range of topics, and our volunteers can ask us for any topics at any time.

We encourage our carers to contact their support team at any time with concerns, questions or ideas and to attend peer support meetings to swap ideas and information with other mentors.

The application process

When you first contact us we will arrange a time at your convenience, for us to have a 30 minute meeting with you at our offices. At this meeting we will provide you with an overview of the program, of what your role as a carer may look like, and what supports will be available to you. If you’re still interested following this meeting, we will give you the assessment paperwork to complete, and arrange two follow-up interviews. For a comprehensive overview of the application process, please click here. If you have any questions at any time throughout the process, or would like any further information before commencing, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Anything else?

If you would like to learn more about caring for a young person, contact Time for Kids on telephone 8440 8500.