Fostering is about looking after children in a family environment when they are unable to live at home. If a child is unable to live with their own family or, extended family, the next best option is for them to join another family - a foster family.
Why children come into care
Every child is different and their experiences which brought them into foster care have affected them individually. Circumstances vary but there may be abuse or neglect in their history. Others may have a disability, or be on remand or have lost their parents to illness or crisis. The one factor all these children and young people share is that they need stability and support.
The reasons children come into foster care are extremely varied, therefore foster carers may also need to work with other professionals such as teachers and doctors to help the child to deal with emotional or physical or learning disabilities.
How long children are in foster care
Some children may only be fostered for a short time, others for much longer. Some foster children return to their birth families, whist others may need a long term family, perhaps through adoption and others may need to be fostered and supported into adulthood.
Who you can foster
As a foster carer, your strengths and family circumstances influence the children you can look after but their ages could range from 0 to 18. The range of fostering options include -
- baby carers – this can be as varied as working with birth families to return a child home or preparing for adoption
- sibling group carers – ideal if your family have the space to look after groups of brothers and sisters so the children can stay together
- school age carers – carers look after children and support them through their education
- mother and baby carers – carers who guide young mums and their babies towards a safe and positive independence
- teenage carers – if you wish to help older children and young people
Fostering a child can be a very rewarding experience but it can also be a challenging experience. That is why we offer extensive support and training for our foster carers.
If you are considering fostering, or would like more information about fostering, please get in touch with our friendly fostering team for an informal discussion.
We understand it is a big step contacting us for the first time about becoming a foster carer, but please do not worry. We answer any questions you may have and discuss fostering options with you.
You need to provide the following details -
- full name
- date of birth
- partner details (if applicable)
- contact telephone number