Lighthouse Foundation is paving a new way forward for fostering providing tailored and continuous support for foster families in Northern Melbourne to grow and thrive.

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The Lighthouse Difference

Our promise is to provide Foster families with the genuine therapeutic care, sense of community and consistent circle of support they need to care for some of Victoria’s most vulnerable children.

We believe community is integral to the success of foster placements because it takes a village to raise a happy, healthy and thriving child- a village where everyone’s emotional, physical and mental health is nurtured.

Drawing on more than 60 years of empirical research and three decades of front-line experience caring for traumatised young people in our Lighthouse Homes, we’ve seen first-hand the challenges children and carers face in the existing system. When you break it down, our solution is relatively simple but we still need you to make it work.

Lighthouse Foundation Woman and Child at park
Lighthouse Foundation Man and Children At Birthday Party

Connect, reflect & grow

Together we’re here to support you through our Lighthouse Foster Hub

A dedicated home based in Northern Melbourne which offers respite and a place for Foster Carers to connect, reflect and grow. You’ll be surrounded by people and an experienced team who understand the challenges you’re faced with, can share in the joy of progress and walk alongside you.

“Homelessness affects all of us in society and, together, we can work to alleviate and ultimately end it. It may feel like a big task, but when you start to see the small steps made – like a young person build trust for the first time, change a behaviour or realise that they matter to the world – you understand that it’s the most worthwhile journey you’ll ever go on.”

Susan Barton AM
Lighthouse Founder & Foster Parent

Our Promise to You

We’re here to help foster carers do what they do best- care with kindness, compassion, patience and love. Well guide and support you like a grandparent would, because that’s what families do.

  • Trauma-informed support for foster children, carers and the entire family.
  • Regular respite support with Lighthouse’s therapeutic Carers- delivered via monthly overnight stays at the Hub and weekly homework clubs.
  • 24/7 phone support from therapeutic carers as well as urgent in home-support.
  • Learning and development opportunities that are tailored to each foster family's needs
  • Connection to the community through carefully considered Community Committee local volunteers.
  • Regular social events and outings for the fostering community to connect and build relationships with each other.
  • Lifelong membership offered to all children so they can turn to us during the highs and lows in later life.

Circle of care philosophy

It’s our promise to walk alongside you, your foster child and the entire family every step of the way. It’s the same circle of care philosophy that we’ve been operating from for the past 29 years.

Meet our Relationship Managers

Many of the people in our team are long-term employees of Lighthouse and have dedicated their lives to caring for young people. They’ve each had their own personal experiences with fostering, whether that be taking in a child themselves, adopting, growing up with foster relatives or guiding foster families. It’s what makes them who they are, and what binds us all together.

Lighthouse Foundation Man and Children On Doorstep
Lighthouse Foundation Rita Nancy Jelavich

“My experience with children in care began when I was about six years old. My mother worked in a children’s foster care institution (as they were known back in those days) and would take me to work with her. I played alongside many of the children and saw how fortunate I was to have a happy, loving home. I also had a number of foster cousins growing up who were just as much part of the family as my biological cousins were.”

— Nancy Jelavich – Foster Care Program Manager

Lighthouse Foundation Laura Petrie Headshot

“Growing up I learnt that no matter how much therapy or intensive treatment a little one receives, they still desperately need a place to call home and a sense of community in order to begin to heal. And as the leader of Lighthouse's Clinical team I have a deep commitment to ensure that everyone at Lighthouse, from the CEO to our newest young person, has a team to lean on and receive support from. This essential circle around every individual is key, and it's the very thing that we will provide for you and your family.”

— Laura Petrie, Director of Clinical Services

Lighthouse Foundation Daniel Durik Headshot

“Through my teenage years my family fostered children for about seven years. My mum was a single parent and my two siblings and I were raised on a beef farm. Growing up, we had 20 to 30 foster children of all ages, I remember at times we even had as many as four foster children in the home at one time.”

— Daniel Durik – Director of Operations