What is foster care?
Fostering is when a child or young person comes to live with you. You look after them and provide a safe, caring home and, with the support of a social worker and other professionals, you can create a brighter future.
Over 70,000 young people are in care in England and they come into care for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they are safer living away from their families due to abuse or neglect, or sometimes their parents may have died or they are unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. It can also be a short-term move if their parent has a short-term illness or is facing a temporary problem.
In the majority of cases the aim is for a young person to move back home to their family, but sometimes this is not possible.
'Since we started fostering my family has knitted together and become more of a unit. They’ve adapted really well to the changes we’ve had to make to become a foster family and have never wavered in their support.'
Types of fostering
We are looking for foster carers to look after all types of children and young people for all different lengths of time.
Fostering can achieve amazing results for children and young people. It replicates family life and offers stability, safety and security. By matching a young person to the right foster parent for them, we can make sure the long-term placement works for both parties.
This can be a viable option for young people waiting to be adopted or who have come into care on an emergency basis. They can live with foster carers for up to a couple of months whilst awaiting a more permanent placement or going back to live with their family.
Respite foster care can last for up to a few weeks as a change of scenery. Often this is an option for children with disabilities to offer their parents a break from round the clock care, or as a way of gradually introducing a young person to their new foster family.
Sometimes a new parent may need extra support to look after their baby, so they move in with a foster carer for a set period of time. With the support of their foster carer, the parent can learn the skills they will need for the future, before moving onto living independently.
More funding is now available to support care leavers so they do not have to leave their foster carers as soon as they turn 18. This means a young person can stay with the people they are closest to and take more time getting ready for independent living.