WHAT IS FOSTERING?

Fostering is a way of providing a stable family life for children and young people who are unable to live with their parents or other relatives. Fostering is challenging but also rewarding at the same time. It takes time, patience and commitment to foster.

The children and young people placed with foster carers are from a number of different cultural, religious and ethnic backgrounds and will display different behaviours depending upon their various experiences.

All children and young people are different, making it difficult to define a typical child, however, what you can expect is that, as with any child or young person, they need security, stability and the chance to develop and thrive.

Fostering differs from adoption. The main difference is that with adoption you become a child’s legal parent permanently, whilst fostering is usually temporary, until a child returns to their family.

Why do some children need to live with families other than their own and what does this mean for them?

Children come into care for a whole range of reasons, including a family members illness, drug or alcohol misuse, domestic violence between parents or financial deprivation. Some children may have been abused or neglected. Foster care gives families a chance to sort out their problems by providing the child or children with a home and supporting the family for as long as they need.

Fostering offers children a safe and caring family while they are unable to live with their own. When a child is taken into care the local authority becomes responsible for their welfare. In the meantime social workers work with families to make the home a safe place for a child. The ultimate aim is that the child and their parents can be reunited.

About 70 per cent of children in care in the UK live with foster carers. Foster carers are child care experts working alongside a team of professionals providing children with the highest standard of care. Fostering is not easy; but it offers the opportunity to make a huge difference to the lives of the children who need it.

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