Carer Information & Support Service

The Carer Information and Support Service (CISS) operates in addition to the supports and advocacy offered to statutory foster, kinship and permanent carers through their funded care agencies, therefore providing carers with an independent referral and assistance point. 


CISS has four main aims:

● Provision of accurate and clear information via consultation - phone, email and in person, training, newsletters and information sheets

● Referrals to appropriate agencies for specialised and targeted support and assistance

● Phone conversations, one on one meetings and (occasional) attendance at meetings for support

● Advocacy with CSOs and Government on themes and serious issues affecting carers, children and young people in home based care


Our commitment to you


FCAV will not initiate discussions with any agencies or government departments without your expressed consent unless there is an immediate risk of harm to an identifiable person or persons, including a child or young person. All carer information utilised in the compilation of FCAV reports is de-identified to protect the identities of carers.


Contact us


Phone: (03) 9416-4292


Make an online enquiry OR 

Book an appointment for a Carer Support Phone or Skype Video Call!


Monday - Thursday: 9:00am - 5:00pm
Friday: 9:00am - 4:30pm

This service is not available on public holidays.  


Meet the CISS Team



Tessa Hughes has been with FCAV since March 2016. The rewarding role has provided Tessa with opportunities to supervise, mentor and develop staff. Alongside the support help line, the services have expanded to include offering training opportunities such as carer retreats, cultural days, online training sessions as well as webinars and podcasts. FCAV endeavours to ensure procedural fairness for carers, particularly when involved in CIMS investigations. Tessa is passionate about advocating for carers to ensure best outcomes for children in their care. She has been involved in the implementation of the organisations Reconciliation Action Plan. This year saw the opportunity to expand the offering of services to include the Carer Assistance Program to address the emotional trauma and distress experienced by so many carers in the sector.
Tessa works Monday - Friday







Biba Dickson has been a member of the FCAV CISS team for 10 years, having previously worked in Child Protection. Biba has a strong belief in empowering carers to navigate the foster care system to enable the best possible outcome for the children in their care. She also has a particular interest in the importance of support during the CIMS and Independent Investigation processes.

Biba works on Tuesday and Wednesday 







Deb Collard joined the FCAV as Project Co-ordinator with the Carer Information and Support Service team in May 2017 having worked in home-based care for the previous 20 years. Deb grew up in a fostering family and is passionate about supporting foster carers. She brings a lifetime of foster care experience to her work which is currently focussed on a range of carer forums, particularly around self-care, to assist carers to have their needs met and the needs of the children in their care.

Deb works on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday











Leigh Hillman joined FCAV in late 2020 having previously worked with us for a number of years. Leigh has had an extensive career in government and non-government sectors in Queensland, the Northern Territory and, finally, in Victoria. The granddaughter of a foster carer, Leigh is very committed to ensuring the rights of carers are respected within the out of home care system. She brings several decades of experience and knowledge to her advocacy with, and on behalf of, carers.

Leigh works Monday to Friday