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About PCA Families

PCA Families Zoom ScreenshotPermanent Care and Adoptive Families (PCA Families) is a not-for-profit member-based organisation representing families formed by permanent care, kinship care and adoption in Victoria. Established by parents from this community in 2003, we continue to be guided by the lived experience of our members. We take a child-centred and family-focussed approach to supporting strong and stable families.

As the go to organisation for the community, PCA Families delivers peer support, therapeutic programs and advocacy informed by lived experience and research. In the 2020-2021 financial year we:

  • Answered a total of 1,015 helpline calls (including reaching out to families in need)
  • Processed 1,015 Flexible Funding requests
  • Distributed $2,895,644 of funding to assist eligible families
  • Ran 33 peer support sessions with members
  • Sent Communication Updates weekly to members

Our Vision
That every child who cannot live permanently with their birth parents thrives in a strong, stable, and permanent family.

Our Purpose
Permanent care, kinship care and adoptive families have committed to helping their children thrive and we are committed to helping them do it.

Our Mission
We advocate on behalf of and deliver peer support and other trauma informed services for permanent care, kinship and adoptive families. We inform, upskill and empower our parents / carers to advocate strategically for the services and support their children and our communities need. Our independent support is trusted by our families and often critical to their success. 

Offering practical support

Many families permanently caring for children from permanent care, kinship care and adoption backgrounds can at times struggle to cope with the day-to-day realities of parenting children who experience the often life-long effects of trauma.

A PCA Families member feedback survey conducted in 2019, highlighted that one in five parents/carers were ‘just coping’ or are ‘not coping at all’. Families often have few or no support services available to them once an order is granted. This lack of support can exponentially increase the risk of family breakdown.

Our helpline, flexible funding and peer support programs are frequently the only specialist support available to families post-order.

Why it’s important for families to be supported

20151021 PCA Families Background Paper The Potential of Permanent Care 2015 web 1445475043 1Outcomes for many of the 10,000 children and young people currently in out of home care in Victoria include homelessness, poor job prospects, fractured relationships and, too often a trajectory into the criminal justice system.

It doesn't have to be this way. In addition to providing more support to ensure less children enter care in the first place and that children can be reunified to their birth parents in a timely way wherever possible, there is now overwhelming international evidence that when we offer children a alternative permanent homes we give children a sense of security and stability that leads to better life outcomes.

However, it's not enough to make a court order. The international evidence also shows that the availability of peer support and other consumer-led support services independent of government and placement agencies is critical to ensuring these alternative families succeed.  It is the non-judgemental lived experience underpinning our model that permanent care and adoptive families trust. It means we can help keep families together, when other services cannot.

When they do succeed, families are the best advertisement for other families to offer permanent homes for children who need them (which in turn helps reduce the pressure on and churn in foster care).

To understand more about the importance of supporting permanent care and adoptive families, read Permanence and Stability, "The missing ingredients for Victoria's most vulnerable children".

An approach informed by strong lived experience and research

Our CEO Wendy Mason has a diverse background in senior executive roles with experience in early childhood, mediation and counselling, health and mental health reform.  

Wendy is supported by an elected Board of Management made up of members with relevant professional experience many of who have lived experience of permanent care and adoption. Read more about our Board.

Many of our staff also have lived experience, and all of our volunteers are a part of the adoption and permanent care community. Read more about our team.

Child Safe Organisation

PCA Families is a child safe organisation. We believe that children have the right to feel and be safe at all times.

Join PCA Families

We hope you will join our community by becoming a member.

acnc logoPermanent Care and Adoptive Families (PCA Families) is a  registered charity with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission, and a Tier 2 incorporated association registered and domiciled in Victoria, Australia and has been endorsed as an Income Tax Exempt Charity and a Public Benevolent Institution by the Australian Taxation Office.

In the spirit of reconciliation PCA Families acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the country throughout Australia and their connections to land, sea and community. We pay our respect to their elders past, present and emerging, and extend that respect to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.

PCA Families also openly supports diverse families including LGBTQI+, culturally and linguistically diverse, and single parent led families.