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What is fostering?

What is fostering

There are lots of different reasons why children need foster care.

Some will have been neglected or abused by their parents, others will have parents who are unable to care for them for a variety of reasons such as poor mental health, drug or alcohol abuse, many will have emotional difficulties or challenging behaviour. Most of these children will return to the care of their birth families but some will need to remain in foster care until they can live independently.

Foster carers look after a child or children in their own homes. They offer each child a safe, nurturing, caring home environment which allows them to feel secure, to begin to trust and to develop their potential. Every child is different and carers need to be able to work positively with the child’s experience and individual needs to help them to feel valued and to build their self-esteem. 

Fostering is challenging - but very rewarding

All children in foster care are the responsibility of their local council social work service and will have their own social worker. Social work services must have a legal basis for removing any child from their parent(s) and be able to show that this is in the child’s best interests. Every child will have their own plan and many people will be involved in carrying it out - e.g. parents, social workers, teachers, health professionals and foster carers. Therefore it is important that foster carers can work as part of this team planning for the child and meeting their individual needs.

As you can see foster carers play a very important part in helping some of our most vulnerable and challenging children begin to recover from their experiences, in a safe, nurturing home environment. They are therefore carefully recruited and assessed and given lots of support to enable them to do this demanding role well. 

Because every child is different, a wide range of carers are needed to reflect different ages, backgrounds and ethnic groups.

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