Want to know more about fostering?

Get an insight into what fostering is all about

What is fostering?

Fostering is providing a safe, stable, and nurturing family home to a child who is unable to live with their own birth family.

There are varied reasons why children are unable to be cared for by their birth families and be placed into foster care by their Local Authorities. 

  • Some families have periods of instability, and are unable to care for their children due to life circumstances: emotional, mental, or physical health conditions; bereavements; family breakdown; learning difficulties; alcohol dependency; substance dependency; and families who simply struggle to cope.
  • Some children experience harm from family members. This can be in the form of: neglect; physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; and exposure to domestic violence. In these circumstances, parents have failed to adequately meet the child’s basic needs, exposed the child to inappropriate behaviour and/or risk, or, have deliberately caused harm to a child.
  • Some children do not have any surviving family members.
  • Some children’s birth family are imprisoned or in the care of the Local Authority themselves.
  • Some children have been abandoned or rejected by their birth family.
  • Some children have additional needs and their families are unable to meet these. Additional needs can include: severe physical disabilities, specific medical needs, learning disabilities or challenging/complex behaviour.

Where families are struggling to cope and/or their children are unsafe, Local Authorities must offer help and support to both the children and their families, to enable children to live happily and safely with their own family. If this is not possible the Local Authority must take steps to secure a child’s safety and well-being by providing them with alternative arrangements such as foster care. Being in foster care enables children to recover from the childhood trauma they have experienced, have a positive experience of family life within which they are able to thrive and reach their individual potential.

What does a Foster Carer do?

A foster carer plays a central role in a team of professionals that includes social workers, therapists, teachers and health professionals. They work in partnership to ensure the child/ren in their care get all the help and support they need. Foster carers are responsible for the day to day care of the children they look after. The child’s Local Authority and/or the child’s birth parents retain parental responsibility. There are many tasks that foster carers agree to undertake including:

  • Encouraging and supporting children with school attendance and achievement 
  • Ensuring they attend health and therapy appointments
  • Encouraging the child/ren to engage in activities in the community
  • Supporting contact with their birth family

Each of our foster carers receives a comprehensive handbook providing them with full details of the day to day roles and responsibilities of foster carers which provides them with a helpful insight into the realities of fostering. They also have the full support of the Family Fostering team of experienced social workers on a day to day basis as required.

Who can become a Foster Carer?

We are committed to recruiting foster carers who share our values and absolute commitment to caring for children and young people in accordance with our therapeutic ethos. This means being willing to learn, develop, embrace and adopt therapeutic approaches to care for children and young people. It also means being committed to work in partnership with therapists and psychologists, which may include supporting a child or young person to attend regular therapy sessions, being part of the therapy sessions and/or adopting strategies and accepting advice provided by specialists.

We are looking for people who are passionate about caring for children, who are patient and kind, slow to anger and quick to forgive, open and honest, committed and determined and ready for one of the most challenging and rewarding career there is!

If this is you and you believe you have the key skills and personal qualities needed we would love to hear from you. You will need to have a spare bedroom suitable for a foster child and the time to devote to them.

How long are children in foster care?​

How long a child needs a foster placement will depend on their individual needs and circumstances.  They may need to be placed in foster carer for only a few days, however, sometimes foster placements are needed for months and sometimes for years. 
Children in foster care may be able to return home after a period or they may go on to be adopted. Other children remain in foster care long term until they reach adulthood.

What are the different types of Fostering?

Bridging Placements

Bridging placements are required when a child needs to be prepared for another placement or while a more suitable placement is identified. For example, they may be in foster care for several months while they are matched with a family for adoption or while a foster family with the same cultural background is found.

Emergency Placements

Emergency placements are required when children need somewhere safe to stay at short notice where they will be supported while future plans are made for them. For example, the Police may remove a child from an unsafe home environment and they may remain in foster care until a member of their extended family has been assessed as being suitable for caring for them.

Short Term Placements

Short term placements can range from a few weeks or months’ duration to a couple of years. These placements provide children with a positive experience of family life in a safe, stable family home until their long term placements are identified and become available.

Long Term Placements

Long term placements are for children who are unable to live with their families and need a foster home to stay in until they reach adulthood and are able to live independently.

Kinship Placements

Family and friends (kinship) placements are made when children are placed with people they already know. These placements are overseen by the Local Authority.

Private Foster Placements

Private foster placements are when parents make an arrangement for their child to stay with someone who is not a close relative and has no parental responsibilities for more than 27 days. Although this is a private arrangement there are special rules about how the child is looked after. The Local Authority must be told about the arrangements and undertake assessments to ensure the arrangements are safe and meet the child or young person’s needs.

Remand Placements

Remand foster placements are foster placements with specially trained foster carers. They are for children who have been ‘remanded’ by the Court to the care of a Local Authority.

Short Break Foster Placements

Short break foster placements are foster placements for disabled children or children with special needs and/or behavioural difficulties to enjoy a short stay on a pre-planned, regular basis with a new family, giving their parents/foster carers a short break for themselves.

More fostering frequently asked questions

Here’s some of the most common questions we get asked about fostering and becoming a Foster Carer with Family Fostering.  If you don’t find the answer to your question here, then our team will be happy to answer your question – then please call us on 01843 598 647 or use the ‘Ask another question’ button below.

Do I need to be a parent to foster?

No. You can be a parent already, or have no children of your own.

Do I have to have a partner to foster?

No. You can be single, married or have a partner (as long as your status has not recently changed).

Does it matter if I am working?

No, as long as you can evidence that either you or your partner will have the time to devote to a foster child.

Can I claim benefits while I am fostering?


Do I have to own my own house?

No. You can be in a rented property as long as your tenancy is secure and long term.

Are you looking for foster carers with particular cultural backgrounds or beliefs?

No. You can apply to foster whatever your cultural background and religious beliefs.

Does it matter if I am in a same sex relationship?

We welcome applicants from same sex couples as well as heterosexual couples.

Is there an age restriction to fostering?

You can be considered from the age of 21 can continue fostering past retirement age, as long as your health is good.

Do I need any formal qualifications?

No, you don’t need any formal qualifications.

What is the process for becoming a foster carer?

Please see the section “Becoming a Foster Carer” for full details of the process.