MORE than 600 foster carers are needed to fill a shortfall created by the rising number of young people being removed into care.
There is a particular need for Aboriginal carers, with Aboriginal children making up 36% of all foster children in NSW.
"It's best if Aboriginal children can be placed with Aboriginal families," said Association of Children's Welfare Agencies acting CEO, Dr Wendy Foote.
"We want to find the right match, so that's not just with families that live in the same area, but who are also a cultural fit."
Dr Foote said many rewards can flow from giving children the gift of a loving home, whether that be on a temporary or more permanent basis.
"The rewards of fostering are enormous, and of course providing secure, loving care to children can be the one thing that makes a difference in the child's life and ensures their future," she said.
"Many consider being a foster carer to be a calling."
There are currently close to 20,000 young people in foster care across NSW with 660 new carers needed.
"Foster carers play an invaluable role in our community and out-of-home care agencies work hard to provide them the right support, training and guidance to ensure they are well equipped to meet the complexities and challenges they may face along the way.
"As long as the number of children entering care continues to climb we are always going to need more carers.
"Our message is if you've ever thought about becoming a foster carer, now is the time to come forward."
Foster carers are needed for all types of care, from emergency, respite and short term carers able to support restoration of children to their birth families, to carers wishing to progress to guardianship or open adoption.
Dr Foote said everyday people from all walks of life can be foster carers, from single people, young or old, married, same sex couples and caring professionals, to empty nesters and people from different cultures and religious backgrounds.
To find out more about becoming a foster carer, visit www.fosteringnsw.com.au or call 1800 236 783.