IT WAS with a house full of teenagers that Jill [not her real name] and her husband decided to start foster caring.
"We went into it short-term and it became longer than short-term," Jill laughed.
"We knew we wanted to help in some way, but under our own busy life we weren't sure we could fit it into our routine."
Her biological family of four has been foster caring an 11-month-old for six months now - a role that the Launceston residents have easily slipped into.
Jill said she couldn't imagine it any other way.
"The kids are the main shock - we're told a bit about them but only what's needed," she said.
"You've got to have a good support network."
Jill commended Children and Youth Services for its consistent contact, support and understanding.
Training that Jill and her husband received prepared them as much as possible, she said.
Confidentiality as a foster carer is paramount, as is understanding the program's key aim.
"It's reunification," Jill said.
"You've got to have your heart in the right place. If it's not strong to start with, it certainly will be by the time you finish."
There have been small sacrifices, of course - there are no interstate family holidays and there is little free time for Jill to scrapbook and sew.
"We love it. It's so rewarding to see differences - positive differences," Jill said.
"It keeps us busy but for a good reason."
Children and Youth Services North acting area director Leonie Watson said the length of stay varied depending on the child's needs.
"Children may be placed in care for relatively short periods of time while issues are addressed with the child's family, through to long- term orders where a child may be placed in care until they are 18.
"The number one priority is the safety and well-being of the child, and all carers are supported with training and must prove their capacity to be an effective carer before having children placed with them."
In June this year, there were 387 registered foster carers and 354 relative/kinship carers.
There were just 10 additional carers - while 65 new foster carers entered the system, 55 left.
For more information, call 1800732522 or visit fostercare.tas.gov.au