What is fostering

What is fostering?

Foster carers provide a safe and stable home for children and young people who are unable to live with their parents or legal guardians.


Placements can last for days, months, or years and allow children to live in a supportive and caring home environment. People have all sorts of questions about foster care, here are just a few of the most common:

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What is fostering?

There is no upper age limit and as long as you are fit, energetic and healthy, you can apply to be a foster carer.

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What is the difference between fostering and adoption?


With fostering, all legal responsibility for a child remains with the local authority and the birth parents, whereas with adoption, the legal responsibility for a child is granted to the adoptive parents. Some fostering placements can develop into long-term placements lasting years, yet remain classed as foster care, and not adoption.

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Am I qualified to be a foster carer?

Being a foster carer is not about qualifications; it’s about your ability to offer a vulnerable young person a stable home to grow up in. So no matter what your relationship status, gender, age, sexual orientation, skin colour, religion, or whether you have children of your own, you can be considered to become a foster carer.

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What kind of children and young people will I foster?

The children and young people placed with our foster carers are from a wide range of backgrounds and will display different behaviour depending upon their experiences. They may have had an erratic home life which can affect how they react to everyday life. However, they are still a vulnerable child or young person looking for a safe, caring family; they’re just as nervous meeting you, as you are meeting them.

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How will you help me become a great foster carer?

As one of our foster carers, you’ll provide the safe, caring environment that every child has a right to. We will provide you with training, counselling where required, as well as carer buddies, a social worker, and all the support you need – and anytime you have a question, we’re just a phone call away.

Want to know more?

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Inside your Fostering Guide...

  • Applying to be a foster carer
  • The different kinds of foster care
  • Support for our foster carers
  • Our training and development programmes
  • How fostering affects your finances

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Relevant FAQs

  • What is the difference between fostering and adoption?

    Fostering is regarded as a short-term arrangement, designed to help a family cope through times of stress or difficulty. The aim of the social workers and care team is to support and enable a family to be reunited. Of course, no one can ever be 100% sure how long a child or young person will need foster care. Sometimes it can be a matter of days, and sometimes it can be longer. Often this short-term period becomes a long-term placement but the child or young person remains the legal responsibility of the local authority. Adoption means the child or young person becomes a permanent member of your family and you have legal responsibility for them.

  • Can I keep my present job and foster?

    Fostering is a big commitment, foster carers have to dedicate time to make sure the job is done right. Whether you can keep your existing job depends on your situation and differs from case to case. Here’s a few things to consider; The type of job you do The demands it places on you How you would manage school holidays/periods of absence from school How flexible your working arrangements are Whilst we fully understand everyone needs to earn an income, we hope the generous foster care allowance you receive will enable you to foster full time.