LOCAL foster parents are fearful that imminent changes to their funding arrangements will mean they are unable to afford to provide for the children in their care.
Susan (not her real name) and her husband are raising three foster children younger than eight years old, and they are not looking forward to July 1.
On that day their income will plunge by more than $600 a week as part of the state government's rationalisation on foster children funding levels.
Susan, 55, is a volunteer out-of-home child carer.
She loves children and for the last 10 years has provided a home for children in need.
Her own three children have since grown up and left home.
"My two sons are in the mining industry and my 24-year-old daughter is away at university, so these three (foster children) are my responsibility and have been since they were babies," Susan said.
Under current rules, the government pays private non-government organisations (NGOs) to administrate and reimburse volunteer foster parents money for the welfare, education and upbringing of the 18,000 children in foster care in NSW.
Susan said her problem was that her three foster children were classified as "intensive foster care" which attracted funding of $88,000 a year per child.
"It sounds a lot but we get only a fraction of that to actually bring up the children as 68 per cent of that money is kept by the NGO for administration," she said.
"I think the government should be looking into that. The funding is to support children, not business."
But Susan said her NGO (which she declined to name), has told her that her children have now been reassessed as the lowest level general care.
"It means the funding drops to $37,000 for each child per year, though more than half of that is still kept by the NGO. We are not allowed to see the results of any assessment and I wonder about the need for all this secrecy," Susan said.
"The NGO used to provide me with two days' rest or respite a fortnight. That I will now not get, I've been told. Neither will I get a monthly visit from a children's clinician though my NGO will still send a caseworker for one hour a month to check on the kids.
"I am very suspicious of the way these government funds are dispersed, and I am saddened and disappointed that Justice Wood's recommendation that no foster child should be left in financial adversity has apparently been ignored."