03 9416 4292
The Foster Care Association of Victoria Carer Support Team comprises: FCAV Carer Advocates, Carer Assistance Program (CAP) and, Learning and Development Programs for foster carers.

Carer Advocates

Provide information, support and advice to foster carers about navigating the Out of Home Care System, such as:

  • Support and advocacy for foster carers when involved in Client Incident Management System (CIMS) issues

  • Liaison with foster carer’s agency, when necessary, to advocate for foster carers.

  • Liaison with the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH) and other key stakeholders to provide individual advocacy

Carer Assistance Program (CAP)

The FCAV Carer Assistance Program, in partnership with Permanent Care and Adoptive Families (PCAF) offers free therapeutic support to Victorian Foster Carers, Permanent Carers, and Adoptive Families (PCAF). Through CAP, carers can access individual, couple and group therapeutic support across a range of issues impacting mental health and wellbeing, both related and unrelated to their caring role.

Learning and Development Programs

Educational opportunities for foster, kinship and permanent carers such as:

  • Online Q&A sessions

  • Webinars on home-based care specific issues

  • Wellbeing retreats

  • We co-facilitate with Aboriginal Community Controlled Organisations (ACCOs) to run cultural excursions, events and experiences, designed by ACCOs, for carers and the Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children in their care, to provide opportunities for carers to support Cultural Support Plans and learn more about the aims of Section 18

  • Chat with CEO Sessions for foster carers to raise practice issues and advocacy advice

  • Chat with CEO sessions with agencies for advocacy advice

Carer Advocates Operating Hours

Monday–Thursday 9:00am–5:00pm

Friday 9:00am–4:30pm

This service is not available on public holidays. 

Contact the FCAV Carer Support Team Online

Phone us on 03 9416 4292

If you are a Kinship Carer, please contact Kinship Cares Victoria (KCV), the peak body for Kinship Carers on 03 9372 2442 .

If you are a Permanent Carer, please contact Permanent Care and Adoptive Families (PCAF), the peak body for Permanent Carers on 03 9020 1833.

Meet the Carer Support Team

Tessa Hughes

Carer Support Team Manager

Tessa joined FCAV in 2016. Tessa manages a team who deliver information, support, and advocacy to Victorian carers. 

A significant component of the work is supporting carers through the CIMS process, where allegations have been made against a carer.  

Tessa is committed to working closely with key stakeholders and developing strong relationships in the Out of Home Care sector to ensure all needs are met for carers.  

During COVID, she led a team to establish a therapeutic support service, CAP which is offered to Foster and Permanent carers. Mental health issues have been a primary reason for carers to access the service.   

Tessa also managers all Learning and Development opportunities offered by FCAV and her passion is in the wellbeing and self-care space to better support carers and their mental health while caring for children.  

Amongst many achievements while in the role, Tessa managed and delivered weekend retreats for carers where they can restore and revitalise themselves. 

Tessa loves reading, swimming, travel and experiencing new wonders. 

Biba Dickson

Carer Advocate

Biba has been a member of the FCAV Carer Support Team team since 2010, 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.

Leigh Hillman

Carer Advocate

Leigh returned to the FCAV in late 2020 having previously worked with us for a number of years.

With an extensive career in government and non-government sectors in Queensland, the Northern Territory and Victoria, Leigh brings several decades of experience and knowledge to her advocacy on behalf of foster carers.

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.

Deb Collard

Learning and Development Coordinator

Deb joined the FCAV as Project Coordinator with the Carer Support team in May 2017 having worked in home-based care for the prior 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 focused on the Learning and Development arm of the Carer Support team, offering a range of carer forums, including, Carer Retreats, Art Therapy classes, webinars and more with a focus on helping carers to meet the complex needs of the children in their care but also ensuring their own self-care is prioritised.

Commitment to Confidentiality

FCAV will not initiate discussions with any agencies, ACCOs 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.

Becoming a member is easy & rewarding
As an FCAV member you have access to free advocacy, support & information. Your membership is instrumental to our strength, ensuring a better Victorian system for our carers, children & young people.
Registered Charity
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The Foster Care Association of Victoria acknowledges the unceded sovereignty of the Wurundjeri People of the Kulin Nation on whose land we live and work. We acknowledge the continued connection to Country including lands cultural knowledges and their peoples and pay respect to Elders past and present. We are the united voice and advocate for all foster carers across Victoria and we aim to continually develop our knowledge and act with respect to First Nations sovereignty.
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The Foster Care Association of Victoria (FCAV) is a registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-Profit Commission, with ABN 30747010099
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