Placement refers to the act of placing a child in the care of a person who is not the child's birth parent such as a foster carer or kinship carer through the Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) or a partner organisation. A placement must have a beginning event and a finishing event (expressed as entering and exiting the out-of-home care placement), and it is possible that the placement episode is interrupted from time to time for respite purposes. A placement can be approved/ authorised/ endorsed as suitable for a child or young person.

This can be a confusing time for children and young people. They often feel scared, unsettled, worried, sad, angry and also relieved. The images on the right show some of the things that may happen during this time.

Key challenges



  • Lack of understanding about why they cannot live with their birth family
  • Limited understanding about the decisions being made about them
  • Difficult to communicate information about themselves to their new carers
  • Hard to keep track of places they have lived and who has cared for them
  • Don't get to see their birth family as often as they would like



  • Difficult to find suitable placements for children
  • Difficult to track down family members that could provide care
  • Limited caseworker capacity to allocate cases
  • Time consuming and difficult to organise family contact visits
  • Life Story work tools are basic
  • Time consuming to search for information about other family members
  • Difficult to share and gather information with other agencies

Things that will help




  • The ability to message family members through YOU
  • A Life Story section which will help children to understand why they are in care
  • An age appropriate case plan in a child or young person friendly format
  • A visual way for children to store memories and information about carers, placements, schools and friends
  • A calendar view of family contact visits



  • Can see placements and capacity for allocation purposes
  • A function to better match children with families
  • Online scheduling of family contact visits
  • A Life Story work section so caseworkers can prompt family members and carers to contribute
  • A single view of all information about the child including a genogram
  • A messaging function to allow caseworkers to contact family members, children and carers
  • Questionnaires that can be assigned to significant people in the child's life to gather necessary information to inform casework

Supporting ChildStory tools

The following tools can be used by carers, young people, services and caseworkers to support children and families during a placement.