What is fostering?
Some children are not able to live with their own birth family for a number of different reasons and therefore they need a safe place to live.
A foster home offers such children a safe place to live for a few days, weeks months or sometimes even years.
Fostering means providing a child with all the things that any family would, food , warmth, shelter, love, care, support with health and education.
You will need to support a child to attend school and any medical appointments that they may have. You will also be asked to attend and contribute to meetings. But you are never alone as your support social worker will help you. We also have the support of a mentor scheme where you can seek support from an experienced foster carer.
Watch our latest fostering film
This five minute film tells the real life story of teenager Carl, his foster carer and his two younger sisters who are cared for by another couple. It briefly and honestly captures the highs and lows of fostering. Most importantly it shows, personal progress and depth of love that can come when foster carers support a child or young person through adversity.
Giving foster carers the support they need
Fostering is an extremely rewarding thing to do but is not without its challenges too. That’s why its really important to get good support and training for yourself.
We pride ourselves on the wraparound service that we offer to our carers through the support of experienced fostering social workers and comprehensive training provided
The process of becoming a foster carer takes about six months and we will be there to train, support and guide you in order to prepare you for your fostering career.
Types of foster care
There are two types of mainstream fostering these are short term and long term fostering.
Most children come into care short-term whilst social workers complete assessments in order to make plans for a child to either return to their birth family or to find a permanent placement through adoption or long-term fostering. As a short term foster carer you will offer a home to lots of different children over time.
Most children who are fostered return to their birth family, but for some this is not possible and therefore these children require a long-term foster home. Many children who need long term homes are aged 8 years and above and often need a foster home that they can share with their brothers and sisters. Caring for a child long term means you support them into young adulthood. This often includes supporting their contact with their birth family over the years.
Sometimes our young people stay with their foster carers after their 18thbirthday, this is known as ‘staying put’.
Other types of fostering
Parent and child fostering
Some young parents need support to care for their own baby. As a foster carer you could be provide a home to a young parent as well as their baby. If you do this type of foster care, you will show the young person how to best care for their baby by offering support and guidance.
Social workers may be unsure if such a young parent can care for their baby and so this will provide a period of assessment for the parent and baby.
Fostering children seeking asylum
Some children arrive in the UK from overseas and have no adult travelling with them. They have often had difficult journeys to get to the UK and are often traumatised by this experience.
Many children seeking asylum are young males and will need support in registering for services such as health and education.
These young men usually have limited English so you will need to have a lot of patience and empathy to be their foster carer.